Rock of Ages is a Juke Box Musical, with a book by Chris D'Arienzo, built around Classic Rock hits from the 1980s, especially from the famous glam metal bands of the decade. The musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Asia, among other well-known rock bands.
A movie adaptation, whose plot was dramatically altered from the stage version, was released in 2012, directed by Adam "Hairspray" Shankman and starring Diego Boneta as Drew, Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, Russell Brand as Lonnie, and Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian. You can watch the trailer here.
If you're looking for the video game, head this way.
This musical provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Time Period: According to the opening narration, the events of the musical take place in "the mid to late Eighties, roughly". It never gets more specific than that (there's a mention that Ronald Reagan is President, but that really doesn't narrow it down any), allowing the writers to include any element of The '80s they like without worrying too much about how it all fits together.
- Babies Ever After: Drew and Sherrie finally get together at the end of the show and have a baby - with labor and delivery all within a 20 second guitar solo.
- Big "NO!"
- Regina during "We Built This City/Too Much Time on My Hands".
- Franz just before the guitar solo towards the end of "The Final Countdown".
- Bittersweet Ending: Dennis passes away and leaves the Bourbon Room to Lonnie, but the club stays open; Franz reconciles with his dad, opens his confectionery shop in Germany, and maintains a long-distance relationship with Regina, who becomes the mayor of West Hollywood; Stacee is charged with statutory rape and forced to flee to Uruguay, where he apparently keeps performing; and Sherrie and Drew get together and start a family in the suburbs, even though it means giving up their dreams of rock stardom. The show ends with Lonnie delivering the Aesop that "on the Sunset Strip, even though the dreams you leave with might not be the dreams you came in with, they can still rock."
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Quite often. At one point, Lonnie tells Drew he's in a Broadway show and produces a playbill to prove it.
- Camp Straight: Franz in the musical.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: Several, the most notable being "Any Way You Want It", which is about strippers doing anything the client requests.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The waitress in the Bourbon Room who isn't Sherrie is denoted in the script as "Waitress #1" — and addressed in dialogue as if that's actually her name.Drew: Hey, Sherrie. Hey, Waitress #1.
- Final Love Duet: "The Search is Over", between Drew and Sherry. Lonnie and Dennis also get one ("Can't Fight this Feeling") somewhat earlier in Act II, but it's played mostly for laughs.
- Funetik Aksent: In the musical's script, all of Franz and Hertz's lines are written like this. Also, Regina's name is often spelled Regyna.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Stacee is forced to flee to Uruguay to avoid jail time, so his verse in the finale is in Spanish.
- Insistent Terminology: Justice is adamant that her establishment, the Venus, is not a "strip" club, it is a gentleman's club.
- Jerkass: Stacee Jaxx.
- Juke Box Musical: The musical is little more than an excuse to play rock songs from the 1980s.
- Just Friends: Played with in the musical. Sherrie and Drew are both quite nervous on their first date. Trying to calm them both down, Drew says they're "just two friends" out watching the stars and drinking wine. This leads to a spiraling chain of events where Sherrie has no-strings-attached sex in a bathroom and becomes a stripper.
- Lampshade Hanging: In the Toronto production, Yvan Pedneault (Drew) explained away his rather noticeable French-Canadian accent by claiming to be from Detroit ... via Montreal.
- Literal Metaphor: Zigzagged. When Stacee arrives at the Bourbon he tells Dupree he'll burn the place to the ground. At the end of the ensuing conversation neither Dupree or the audience is sure whether Stacee is being literal or not.
- Long-Runners: Closed in January 2015 after running nearly 2,300 performances — good for 29th place on the all-time list of Broadway's most-performed shows. It's also the newest show to crack the top 30, having opened in only 2009 (although The Book of Mormon is creeping up on it).
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Stacee Jaxx seduces Sherrie in a stall in the men's toilets at the Bourbon Room.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: To some extent, Regina and Franz.
- Meaningful Name: Sherrie Christian. The two songs she is named for appear in the show.
- Mistaken for Gay: Most of Regina's gang of protestors assume Franz is gay, and are surprised when he confesses that he's in love with Regina.Franz: I'm not gay! I'm just German!
- Naïve Everygirl: Sherrie starts out extremely naive, to the point that she's initially immune to some of the darker sides of city life because they go straight over her head without touching her. That wears off the longer she spends in the city, though, and is completely gone by the end of the first act.
- Noodle Incident: Dennis refers to one as the reason Stacee Jaxx 'owes' him in the play. Subverted in that the last line of the song from Dennis is 'remember when you teabagged that baby llama?'
- Pair the Spares: Franz and Regina; Dennis and Lonnie.
- Self-Parody: Lonnie, the narrator, briefly discusses disappointment, and mentions how much he’d rather be be in a challenging play with complex characteriziation. Depending on whether or not the performer is sick of the fun but paper-thin show, this can easily be amusingly meta.
- Stripperific: Surprisingly enough, Sherrie's first stripper outfit is actually more modest than her normal, everyday outfit...
- Stealth Pun: This could be unintentional, but still a good Fridge Brilliance. At the end of the musical, Regina is with Franz, who runs a confectionery store What's the name of the stripper who the actress playing Regina is double cast as? Candi/Candy
- Title Drop: Amusingly averted. The producers couldn't get the rights to Def Leppard's song "Rock of Ages".
- The show makes a subtle reference to this issue. During the pre-show warnings (like no flash photography or recording), the narrator states that in the event of a fire, the audience is NOT allowed to sing any songs from the Def Leppard album Pyromania because the producers were unable to get any rights to the album. The song Rock of Ages is in the Pyromania album.
- Waxing Lyrical: In an indirect example, Sherrie and Drew are this: a small-town girl trying to escape her lonely world, and a city boy born and raised in south Detroit.
- Welcome to the Big City: Country mouse Sherrie arrives on the Strip and is immediately confronted with the seedier side of city life, having run-ins with a prostitute and a mugger.
- Where Are They Now: At the end of the show, just before the final number, Lonnie narrates where all the characters have ended up since the Eighties. Parts of it are played for laughs, such as Dennis reacting with surprise when Lonnie reveals that Dennis has been dead for three years.