It's an old, familiar story: A small-town girl living in a lonely world takes the midnight train to Paradise, a city built on rock-and-roll, where she meets a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit. He's wanted dead or alive and running with the shadows of the night. She just wants to rock and isn't going to take it any more. For a smile, they can share the night. It goes on and on and on and on.
Okay, so maybe that's not exactly the plot of Rock of Ages, a lurid 1980s-era jukebox musical that opens at the Orpheum this week and has been delighting audiences and driving critics mad since it first strutted onto the Broadway stage in 2009. But, then again, it's not far off either, and let's face it, the plot — such as it is — isn't exactly this show's strong suit anyway.
Rock of Ages is a convoluted romance that introduces audiences to Sherrie, a fresh-faced Oklahoma girl who arrives in L.A. with dreams of being a rock star. There she meets some good boys and some bad boys and becomes immersed in a garish, neon world full of strippers and sleazeballs. What's not to love?
The musical's hit-laden soundtrack includes Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," Night Ranger's "Sister Christian," and Poison's popular power ballad "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." For reasons that should be obvious by now, it is sometimes referred to as "Mamma Mia! for metal heads," and if you're feeling nostalgic for mullets and eye-bruising fashion disasters, the raunchy Rock of Ages can scratch that itch.
Rock of Ages at The Orpheum May 10th-12th, $25-$80. Orpheum-Memphis.com