Glam Metal Hits from the 1980s Propel Rock of Ages into the Jukebox-Musical Stratosphere

For four high-octane outdoor performances on Sept. 7-10, Glam metal hits from the 1980s will propel Theatre Raleigh and the Koka Booth Amphitheatre’s joint presentation of the blockbuster 2005 Los Angeles, 2006 Las Vegas, 2008 Off-Broadway, 2009 Broadway, and 2011 West End jukebox musical Rock of Ages into musical stratosphere. This local production of Rock of Ages, which features a book by Chris D’Arienzo, earned five 2009 Tony Award® nominations, including nominations for Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical (Kristin Hanggi) It features the music of Journey, Styx, Pat Benatar, Poison, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Night Ranger, Twisted Sister, Asia, and Whitesnake, among others. This arena rock musical will be performed out-of-doors, starting at 8 p.m. (gates open at 6:30 p.m.), at Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park in Cary, NC.

According to Rock of Ages’ official Broadway website:

“In 1987 on the Sunset Strip [in Los Angeles], a small-town girl met a big-city rocker in LA’s most famous rock club; and they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 1980s. It’s five-time Tony Award-nominated smash-hit musical comedy Rock of Ages, a hilarious, feel-good, rock-n-roll love story told through the mind-blowing, face-melting hits of Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Whitesnake, and many more. Don’t miss this awesomely good time where big hair meets big dreams and the result totally wails!

“… [The show] featur[es] 28 classic rock tunes, including ‘Don’t Stop Believin’,’ ‘We Built This City,’ ‘The Final Countdown,’ ‘Wanted Dead or Alive,’ ‘Here I Go Again,’ ‘Harden My Heart,’ ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling,’ ‘Renegade,’ and ‘I Want to Know What Love Is.’

Rock of Ages — It’s about dreaming big, playing loud, and partying on!”

The New York Times praised the original Broadway production of Rock of Ages for its “Majestic Brilliance”; Spin Magazine claimed the show is “Pure Broadway GOLD”; and Time Out New York characterized it as “Excellent! Rock and comedy in perfect proportion.”

The Triangle’s homegrown production of Rock of Ages is the first joint production of Theatre Raleigh and Koka Booth Amphitheatre and Theatre Raleigh’s first performance under the stars. It will star David Toole as aspiring singer-songwriter-guitarist Drew Foley; Cameron Wade as Sherrie Christian, a starstruck small-town girl from America’s Heartland recently arrived in LA; Charlie Brady as flamboyant frontman and larger-than-life rock god Stacee Jaxx; Ken Griggs as the perpetually stoned Dennis Dupree, who owns the Bourbon Room, where Drew and Sherrie toil in menial jobs; Jack Boice as Dennis’ energetic right-hand man Lonny, who is the straw that stirs the drink in the Bourbon Room; Bill Saunders as ruthless German developer Hertz Klineman; Sean McCracken as Hertz’s sensitive son, Franz; Lauren “Ellie” Barone as the Klinemans’ nemesis, the rogue city planner Regina; Brian Yandle as the corrupt Mayor; and Carly Jones as Venus Club owner Justice — plus Zachery Rayburn as Joey Primo and Melvin Gray as Ja’Keith/Candi. The show’s ensemble includes (in alphabetical order): Meagan Chieppor, dance captain Lisette Glodowski, Shayla LaGrange, Reagan Ogle, Alexa Robertson, and Summer Stanley.

The Triangle musical’s creative team includes New York director Michael Berry and New York choreographer Abbey O’Brien, plus Raleigh, NC music director Jay Wright, scenic designer Chris Bernier, lighting designer Christina Munich, costume designer Sarah McCabe, dresser Ligia de Lara, wardrobe/dresser intern Hannah Wolfert, hair and make-up designer Maggie Slaughter, wig designer Tiffany Bolick, wig intern Sara Grace Lane, properties designer Kieran Bastien, sound designer Eric Collins, tech apprentice Allie Sullivan, stage manager Mette Schladweiler, assistant stage manager Darby Madewell, and ASM 2/run crew Kenny Hertling. The show’s band includes Jay Wright (keyboards), Jason Steffen (guitar 1), Michael Kennedy (guitar 2), John Simonetti (bass), and Dale Baker (drums)

The motion-picture version of Rock of Ages, directed by Adam Shankman, debuted on June 15, 2012. It starred Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian, Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, Bryan Cranston as Mayor Mike Whitmore, Paul Giamatti as Paul Gill, Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Patricia Whitmore, and Russell Brand as Lonny.

SECOND OPINION: Sept. 6th Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview by Evie Fordham; and Aug. 14th Cary, NC Cary Magazine preview by Alexandra Blazevich:

Theatre Raleigh and the Koka Booth Amphitheatre present ROCK OF AGES at 8 p.m. Sept. 7-10 at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park, 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary, North Carolina 27518.

TICKETS: $22.50 general-admission lawn seats and $35 reserved seats, except $10 Student Rush Tickets (front-row seats sold the day of the show to students with valid ID).

BOX OFFICE: 800-514-3849 or

INFORMATION: 919-462-2025.

SHOW: and


VIDEO PREVIEWS (by Lauren Kennedy): and



Theatre Raleigh:,, and

Koka Booth Amphitheatre:,,, and

VENUE: and



NOTE: The amphitheater’s gates will open at 6:30 p.m.


Rock of Ages (2005 Los Angeles, 2006 Las Vegas, 2008 Off-Broadway, 2009 Broadway, and 2011 West End rock/jukebox musical): (Samuel French Inc.), (official Broadway website), (official West End website), (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Wikipedia).

Chris D’Arienzo (Hastings, MI-born playwright and screenwriter): (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Internet Movie Database).

Rock of Ages (2012 Warner Bros. film): (official website), (Turner Classic Movies page), (Internet Movie Database), and (Wikipedia).

Michael Berry (New York, NY director): (Internet Broadway Database), (Internet Movie Database), and (Facebook page).

Abbey O’Brien (New York, NY choreographer): (Internet Broadway Database), (Internet Movie Database), and (Facebook page).


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).