Is “Rock of Ages” really a show for the ages? It’s turning out to be a lot less transitory than its ostensible subject, hair metal. The jukebox musical, which began life in a Hollywood nightclub before taking flight as a long-running Broadway show and less popular motion picture, is returning to its clubby L.A. roots. But the revival is landing in a specially created restaurant/bar venue with more upscale offerings than were offered in any of the Sunset Strip’s peroxide dives back in the day.
This production of “Rock of Ages” opens for six performances a week beginning Sept. 10 in a 250-seat room with full dinner and bar service provided by “celebrity chef” Todd English. The space, on Hollywood Blvd. a block away from the famous intersection with Vine, has been dubbed the Bourbon Room and Rock of Ages Hollywood Theater. These “immersive” shows will take place Wednesday through Sunday in an open-ended run.
The culinary part isn’t just for theatergoers. Organizers are emphasizing that a significant part of the space will be open for full-service food service, craft cocktails and wine, with or without a “Rock of Ages” ticket. Additionally, they’re planning to open the Bourbon Room on nights when the show is dark for “Grammy parties, film screenings, live concerts, gallery openings, art installations, culinary events and more.”
“I am thrilled to bring ‘Rock of Ages’ back to Hollywood and deliver an exceptional experience that’s outrageously fun and like nothing else the city offers,” said Matthew Weaver, producer of the five-time Tony-nominated show, in a statement. Weaver is joined as a producer by Hillary Weaver, Janet Billig Rich, Stacey Sher and Kerry Brown. Doug Deluca and Bill Bodnar are the show’s executive producers.
Casting has yet to be announced. Kristin Hanggi, who received a Tony nomination for directing the Broadway production that ran from 2012-2015, returns to helm this revival, along with several other veterans of that team, including choreographer Kelly Devine, casting head Michael Donovan and set designers Beowulf Boritt and Jo Winiarski. Acting as music supervisor is Dave Gibbs, who performed in the initial L.A. production as well as on Broadway, overseeing a battery of 1980s hits to go along with the book by Chris D’Arienzo.
The new Hollywood space is being designed by Built Inc. founder John Sofio, whose team has worked on the Peppermint Club, Trousdale, Guys Bar, the Nice Guy, Pink Taco and other L.A. dining and bar locations. For his part, restaurateur English is promising “a new, innovative collaboration” he describes as “food as eat-ertainment.”
“Rock of Ages” first played the King King club in Hollywood in 2005 before getting its official world premiere at the Vanguard Hollywood the following year. Productions at the Flamingo in Las Vegas and off-Broadway at New World Stages led to a Broadway opening at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 2009, followed by a 2011 transfer to the Helen Hayes. The Broadway production (pictured above) closed in 2015 after running for 2,328 performances, though touring productions continue into the present. Nearly any stage version is more fondly remembered than a 2012 film adaptation that starred Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough and grossed just under $60 million globally.
The initial block of tickets will include shows through Dec. 29, though an on-sale date hasn’t been announced yet. Updates on ticketing information can be found at rockofageshollywood.com.