Rock of Ages Nominated for 5 Tony Awards!


Among the several Tony nominations for Broadway’s Rock of Ages, Wyckoff, NJ (home of the Jonas Brothers) native and Ramapo High School alum Constantine Maroulis is nominated for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical! Good Luck to ROA! Tune in tonight (8 PM Eastern on CBS hosted by Neil Patrick Harris) to see if it wins and check out a performance by its cast members and Poison!

If you haven’t heard of the musical and you’re interested in seeing the show, read The Sexy Armpit’s review here:

The Toxic Avenger Musical Soundtrack Review

Right this second in New Jersey, 2 miles away from Tromaville in fact, I sit atop an old hazardous chemicals canister that doubles as my computer desk in the toxic dumping grounds (it was empty, but thanks for your concern). I’ve been experimenting in my lab. No, I’m not trying to discover a cure for Toxie’s grossness, but I am trying to find out if the soundtrack to The Toxic Avenger Musical holds up after multiple listens. In order to figure this out, I’ve been alternating between blasting it’s songs for a few minutes then immersing the disc in mass quantities of green chemicals. After all, the theme of the musical is “be green,” right? Ohhhh, they meant, like, the environment and stuff? Well, if I discover the CD is that good, I’ll never have to throw it away, hence making LESS GARBAGE in New Jersey! It’s a win-win!

Not to be a blowhard, but I was lucky enough to review The Toxic Avenger Musical when it premiered in New Brunswick, NJ (click here for the review). After the show, the tunes wouldn’t leave my head for the rest of the night. Seriously, from a guy’s point of view, plays and musicals don’t seem to appeal to us as much as they do to girls. Personally, I enjoy going to a play once in a while like Rock of Ages, and even though not the studliest of musicals, Chicago. It really isn’t too bad, but how many guys do you know that would drive around town in their vehicle with their windows down blasting “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three” from A Chorus Line? For those who don’t want to risk it, they can feel A-OK about popping in the Original Cast Recording of The Toxic Avenger Musical.

Be advised that this is not some half assed rip off of the Troma classic, The Toxic Avenger. Unlike The Wedding Singer, and Legally Blonde, this is a sharply written, hallucinogenic, metaphorical, musical comedy. Now let’s see what David Bryan and Joe DiPietro can create with that mound of descriptions! It’s likely whatever they come up with wouldn’t be able to go face to sludge with the outlandish fun they’ve created for the soundtrack to the Toxic Avenger Musical.

“Everything oozes.”
“It’s never the same pus from one moment to the next.”

Sounds like it might be some dialogue from a song on The Toxie Musical Soundtrack, right? WRONG! It’s actually some dialogue from Waiting for Godot, the play you WON’T have to go see if you can convince your girlfriend to STAY HOME and listen to the Toxic Avenger soundtrack that you ordered. Trust me, this will work if you promise to act out Toxie’s parts! (Just get a mop and glue some green jello to your face, you’ll be fine.) Now this is more like it:

“There’s a place between heaven and hell, don’t need a map just follow the smell…a place filled with filthy air…a place filled with dark despair… A place called New Jersey! New Jersey….The Garden State.”

“There’s an exit called the 13B, right off the Turnpike where it smells just like pee…” To the rare breed of people who actually defend NJ from it’s constant pop culture persecution, this stuff is bittersweet, immortal poetry. Finally, these heartwarming sentiments have permanently etched their way into Broadway! So, Suck it New York City! haha. The words of the songs may seem elementary at first listen, but at least you won’t have to use an iPhone app to decipher the meanings of the songs. The easily relatable ideas of physical freakishness and pollution are two themes the soundtrack imaginatively evokes.

Creating fumes for Toxie as his blind love interest is Sarah, played by Sarah Chase. Put away your hatred of blind jokes for “My Big French Boyfriend,” and share Toxie’s level of cloud 9 gratification as he sings “Thank God She’s Blind” in appreciation of Sarah’s embrace of his hideousness. These pop rock tunes, although fluffy at times, still retain a dramatic tone. “Hot Toxic Love” can be considered the musical’s equivalent to Bon Jovi’s “Always” if it was turned on it’s head, shoved into a garbage can, and submerged in bright, bubbling, green slime.
Without relying on any visuals, Toxie’s tune “Kick Your Ass,” will empower you. This track follows Melvin Ferd after he is “reborn” as Toxie, a hulking hero that could er…excuse the redundancy, “kick ass.” Now, every time I hear “Kick Your Ass,” or any number of combinations, such as kick ass, kick his ass, kick my ass, or kick your mother’s ass, I hear the awesome rap rock stylings of “Kick Your Ass.” “I’m gonna kick, kick, kick, kick, kick your ass!” I can keep singing it for at least 3 more minutes and then I’ll just sound like a total douche, especially because I’m alone, but you get my point. It’s infectious. What? You’re saying it’s NOT infectious? Now I’m really gonna kick, kick, kick, kick, kick your ass!
As The Mayor of Tromaville, Nancy Opel’s zesty stage performance, and her unbelievably elastic singing voice ensure a long life for the musical. On “Jersey Girl” (complete with Bruce and Bon Jovi references) and “Evil is Hot,” Opel easily shines as the standout performer in the show. If you don’t believe me, the proof is burned by lasers into the CD! In just a couple of her signature moments, Opel plays dual roles and also utters the line “these two breasts can be yours, you can’t buy them in stores, go ahead take a bite!” How’s that for an opening line? But the moment that tops them all is when she belts out the endearing ditty, “Bitch/Slut/Liar/Whore.” When you’re playing this track for your girlfriend you can go into the nuances of Opel’s performance. Tell your girlfriend that this track truly displays Opel’s wide range of talent and at the same time it’ll also allow you to say “YOU WHORE!” without getting in trouble. In other words, this song has a built in “get out of jail free” card. Go ahead, feel free to sing it with me! “You Whoooooore!” See honey? You just have to appreciate the subtlety!
The CD saves the best for last. If the NJ Tourism commission had a copy of the soundtrack to The Toxic Avenger Musical they would easily forgo Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” for “A Brand New Day in New Jersey.” The upbeat finale to The Toxic Avenger Musical rouses the audience into a standing ovation with every performance.
As for my aforementioned research, here are my scientifically authoritative findings:
If you find yourself singing songs from Rocky Horror while making your morning coffee “…I was just seven hours old…” then you will surely enjoy The Toxic Avenger soundtrack. It’s music is daring, especially in a modern musical climate suffocated with dance pop crap and poorly written, overproduced, hip-hop. You’ll hear clever lyrics that will surely give you a laugh regardless of what exit you are on the Turnpike. Even though Toxie has gone onto bigger venues (The New World Stages in New York City), and left NJ in the dust, you can still experience the songs! Great news,”You can breathe now in New Jersey, so you won’t catch cancer and die!” And there’s “no more garbage in New Jersey, cause we dump it in Vermont!” Thank you Toxie, NJ is no longer polluted and blanketed with fumes! You’ve made it safe for us to inhale!
The original cast recording of The Toxic Avenger is produced by David Bryan of Bon Jovi.
In addition, the CD also contains “You Tore My Heart Out,” a bonus track performed by David Bryan. The CD will be released on May 5th. You can order it here, and on iTunes!
New World Stages
340 West 50th
New York, NY 10019

Rock of Ages Melts Broadway’s Face Off!

If David Coverdale says you’re a dick, then you probably are. In my estimation, you’ve got to be an idiot not to immediately rip the silly bluetooth off your ear after hearing a concise, eloquently spoken admonishment by the lead singer of such rock classics as “Here I Go Again,” “Still of the Night,” and “Slow and Easy.” If I may, in this review I’ll attempt to use Mr. Coverdale’s professional sounding articulation while expressing my thoughts on the musical Rock of Ages, that I witnessed on April 4th, 2009 in New York City. IT’S AN ’80s ROCK EXTRAVAGANZA NOW PLAYING AT THE BROOKS ATKINSON THEATRE IN NEW YORK CITY!!! Sorry, I admit, that was completely out of hand and uncalled for. I won’t let it happen again.
In no time, the nostalgic musical Rock of Ages went from “off Broadway” to being the best thing going on Broadway. (Click here for my review the off-Broadway ROA show) If you were lucky enough to see the show in it’s inception, you’ll be pleased to know that it still contains all of the “kick assery” of it’s original run…um…I mean, of course, that it’s essence has remained in tact. Our favorite joint on the Sunset Strip, The Bourbon Room, is being threatened to be demolished by evil developers who obviously don’t like to ROCK. Well, F#*$ THOSE MOTHERF—ERS!! Thankfully, my favorite fictional rock song “Beaver Hunt” was not compromised. RIGHT ON MOTHERF—ERS!  Wait, what am I saying?!?! I apologize for that off color outburst, how rude of me? As I was saying, I experienced feelings of absolute elation when I got to hear “Beaver Hunt” once again, and bless you if it’s your first time. Just hearing those few seconds of the song is worth the price of admission alone. There’s still enough Arby’s references to fill the catering carts up with a lifetime supply of Chicken Bacon & Swiss sandwiches. OK OK WE GET IT! THE WRITER’S OF THE SHOW WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO ARBY’S! …oh…I did it again. Shame on me.
HOW COULD YOU EVER MODIFY SUCH AN AWESOME SHOW? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PRODUCERS? Ahhh. Deep breath. Exhale. Pop some Xanax. The cast of the original run of Rock of Ages was unstoppable and distinct. Only a couple of characters have been recast in an effort to re-tool the show for it’s Broadway run. Decisions regarding the cast, some plot points, and choreography have made the show more comical, hence it’s billing as a MUSICAL COMEDY. People love “the funny” so that’s always a WIN, but the play had more realism in it’s original form. Depending on what you want out of your Broadway productions, the latest incarnation of Rock of Ages still delivers “The Best of Both Worlds” and that wasn’t meant to be a Van Hagar reference, but now you’re stuck with it.
I DIDN’T F&!%$N VOTE FOR THIS GUY WHEN HE WAS ON AMERICAN IDOL SO WHY THE F&%$ SHOULD I WATCH HIM IN A BROADWAY PLAY? OK, now I think I’m just developing coprolalia. The reason why you haven’t been completely sold on Constantine Maroulis is because you haven’t seen him belt out fiery tunes like Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherrie,” and Foreigner’s ‘I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You.” Clearly you MUST experience Maroulis’ character Drew putting some of his hilarious moves on his love interest. 3 words: Berry Wine Coolers.
To fill the colossal shoes of the talented Kelli Barrett, Amy Spanger takes over the role of Drew’s love interest, Sherrie. Spanger was superb as Sherrie but the character has changed since the off Broadway run. Her character has become almost entirely comedic which makes replacing Barrett with Spanger like removing Natalie Portman in favor of Anna Faris. They’re both skilled actresses, but in different ways. Spanger plays Sherrie as an airhead with big dreams of L.A., while Barrett’s Sherrie was innocent, torn, and confused (cue up Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian”). Similar to many young girls back in the ’80s with big dreams, Barrett’s Sherrie looked to the Sunset Strip as a haven that could solve her problems and bring her happiness. Her aspirations begin to burn out when she realizes the Strip doesn’t make dreams, in fact, more often than not, it breaks them. Spanger’s Sherrie elicits more laughs as a dumb blonde who is never sullen for too long, even when she’s reduced to working as a dancer at a seedy strip club.
As Stacee Jaxx, lead singer of the fictional band Arsenel, James Carpinello manages to slam home his performance in a role that was so perfectly created by the great Will Swenson.  Jaxx is the quintessential egomaniacal ’80s LEAD ATTENTION WHORE, ahem…I mean singer who sucks up every bit of the spotlight he can. Meanwhile, several other vital cast members have returned in addition to Maroulis.  The animated Mitchell Jarvis owns the play as Lonny, the narrator and all around insti”gay”tor. His one liners are expertly delivered, his facial expressions are priceless, and his nunchucking abilities are first rate. Also making his return as Dennis, owner of The Bourbon Room, is Adam Dannheisser, the lovely Angel Reed as the jail bait groupie, Lauren Molina as Regina (ryhmes with Vagina), Wesley Taylor as the light in the loafers Franz, and Jeremy Woodard as Joey Primo who looks like a Vegas Legends version of Nikki Sixx.
Aside from the Poison/Cheap Trick/Def Leppard package tour this summer, where else can you rock out this much? The ROA soundtrack is comprised of mega popular rock tunes that merge seamlessly together with the action creating a swift pace that will leave you anxious to see it again. Like a tractor beam, Joel Hoekstra of the band shreds his guitar like a madman, pulling us back from our beer and bathroom break. To further create the concert atmosphere, there were numerous occasions when the audience waved a couple of hundred LED lighters back and forth during Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn,” Extreme’s “More Than Words,” and Mr. Big’s “To Be With You.” I assure you that you will not have a more rocking time on Broadway or anywhere else for that matter! Can Waiting For Godot, Blithe Spirit, and Next to Normal take you “High Enough?” I think not. Avoid the package tours that are past their prime and make plans to see the stellar cast of Rock of Ages MELT YOUR FU–ING FACE OFF!!! You know what? This time I’m not sorry! (cue Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”)
Rock of Ages
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
256 W. 47th Street
New York City