With a slogan like “Nothin’ but a good time” I made sure to scurry on over to Zoellner around 2:30 to watch people pour into Baker Hall and jam-pack the theater long before the 3:00 performance of “Rock of Ages.” After all, part of the excitement of seeing a show is the shared experience and being able to people-watch both before and after.
I arrived to Zoellner about half an hour before the show began and the majority of seats were empty. As people started to pour in at about ten to three, I noticed that the audience consisted mostly of Baby Boomers whose eager buzz and excited chat began to gradually fill the auditorium. Although I did see many familiar faces I am surprised by the lack of Lehigh students. I remain slightly bemused- I would have assumed that the student body who lives by “Work hard, play hard” would be intrinsically inclined to see a show full of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”
The show was witty and caustically sarcastic from the moment it began. Whitesnake’s lead singer David Coverdale made a pre-show announcement that immediately loosened up the audience and made Baker Hall resound with belly-deep laughter. “All cellphones should be turned off. Text messaging during the show makes you look like a douchebag, and if you have one of those ‘blue tooth’ things in your ear… Please, come on. You look like a dick.”
As would be expected (because of my observations of most other musicals), the rest of the show was a constant onslaught of unsophisticated, school-boy-esque potty humor and vapid, undeveloped characters a-rockin’ and a-rollin’ in studded leather pants and micro-skirts.
But, despite its corniness and superficiality, who can deny the fun found in ’80s glam rock and hair metal? I found myself singing and clapping along on multiple occasions and during the closing scene I couldn’t restrain myself from throwing up the sign of the horns, sticking out my tongue and crinkling my nose in true Gene Simmons fashion.
As the pre-show’s recording promised, Rock of Ages was indeed full of musical debauchery and decadence. If back in the day “you had a dream, a fifth of Jack, and a decent amount of hair” you were surely in the right place.