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'Rock of Ages' is great fun, but don't take the kids

Mickey Thomas, center, as Dennis, and the cast of "Rock of Ages" at the Fifth Avenue.

Tracy Martin


As a child (teen) of the 1980s, I am the perfect age to enjoy "Rock of Ages."

My 11-year-old daughter? Not so much.

I also am feeling guilty about having taken her 14-year-old cousin.

The campy rock musical wrapping up its run at the Fifth Avenue Theatre exposed them to more sexual innuendo and raw language than I am comfortable with.

But this is not a non-recommendation. Parents: Get a babysitter and go! It seemed that everyone had a good time. No, a great time.

Rock anthems and power ballads by Styx, Poison, Foreigner, Joan Jett and more formed the basis of a the show. Its plot, contrived and kind of cliched, features kids coming to Hollywood to pursue their dreams, juxtaposed with an unpopular redevelopment plan that would do away with the grittiness of the Sunset Strip. Sometimes the songs made perfect sense ("We're Not Gonna Take It," "Every Rose Has Its Thorn,) while other times it was comic brilliance: Two aging rockers and a fog machine? "Can't Fight This Feeling," of course. I was laughing out loud.

The teen and preteen cousins laughed hardest during a wild "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" song-and-dance number that included flossing and the splits, among other moves. (No, we didn't do that in the '80s.)

The 14-year-old assured us that the jokes and language were no worse than what she hears in high school. (Yikes!) She also complimented all the  singing voices and described the choreography as "incredible." (She's a dancer.) She also was very impressed by Galen Disston, lead singer of Seattle band Pickwick, who made his theatrical debut in the lead role of Drew.

The show featured another real-life rocker, Mickey Thomas, the voice of "Starship" in the 1980s and 90s. The group's"We Built This City," panned in a Rolling Stone poll of "worst songs of the 80s," fit well with the plot of "Rock of Ages."

To sum up: This is a fun show. (Side note: Was it just me, or was the bar busier than during a typical performance?) It seemed everybody had a great time. But I think you'll have a better time if you're not worrying about the kids' questions you'll be fielding after the show.

It continues through Sunday (Feb. 24) at the Fifth Avenue Theatre. Showtimes and ticket information here.



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