Rockin’ Rock of Ages

Last Saturday, I got to see the local production of Rock of Ages on stage–and it was definitely worth every penny I spent for a musical production in the Philippines. Rock of Ages was a great fun to watch–it was hysterical, the music was awesome, the cast was excellent and they had chemistry.

Unlike most musicals, Rock of Ages does not feature original songs but instead showcases 80’s rock anthems. It has some kick-ass mash-ups–my personal favorite is Cum On Feel The Noize/We’re Not Gonna Take It.

Rock of Ages is made up of a small cast. Nyoy Volante plays Drew, an aspiring rocker. I’ve been sold on Nyoy Volante since I first saw him as Seaweed in Hairspray a couple of years ago, erasing all my doubts on his acting (and dancing!!) prowess. He delivered again in this musical, hitting all those high and gritty rock notes–and I just wanted to give his Drew a hug.

Mig Ayesa, of Rockstar iNXS fame, plays Stacee Jaxx, the self-centered lead singer of Arsenal. We all know his voice is amazing. Also, his abs are gorgeous.

Vina Morales was a pleasant surprise. I admit, I was apprehensive that she was cast as the lead female. I know she’s a good performer and a great dancer, but her singing voice has a nasal quality that’s an acquired listening taste. So imagine my surprise when she gave stunning renditions of the songs in the musical, and coupled with her likeable portrayal of small town girl Sherrie, flat abs, and dancing prowess, she held her own in a sea of veterans and more. The winecooler scene with her character and Drew was a definite highlight of the show.

Aiza Seguerra plays Regina (rhymes with vagina), an activist fighting to save the Strip (and by extension, dreams). Her voice and acting were spot-on. She also plays two other characters that the audience absolutely loved–I know I left the theater still reeling from her performance.

Jett Pangan was a joy to watch and listen to, his comic cues and faces had me grinning all throughout. The rest of the cast gave incredible performances as well: Jamie Wilson as Dennis (owner of the Bourbon Room), Jinky Llamanzares (owner of The Venus Club), Calvin Millado and Bibo Reyes as The Klinemanns (developers planning to re-do the Strip), and the five talented members of the Ensemble who played everything and everyone else in the musical. Waitress #1 was my favorite.

This was an enjoyable show all around. The audience interacted with the cast (this show, of all the stage plays and musicals I’ve watched, had the most memorable curtain call, with the whole audience–up to the balcony!–on their feet, clapping and singing to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing), the script was funny, the songs are already well-known and the cast had great chemistry. In my experience with watching Philippine productions, there are times when the cast either doesn’t have chemistry with each other or the actors fall short in the singing or acting department. Thankfully, the adaptation of Rock of Ages didn’t fall into that trap and was nothing short of stellar.

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