Rock of Ages opening night
It was so much raucous and outrageous fun that it might be considered illegal even by Las Vegas standards. The official premiere of the musical “Rock of Ages” at The Venetian on Saturday night was a rock ’em and sock ’em, knockout, over-the-top smash.
Celebrities in the audience included gorgeous and glowing Holly Madison, just two months away from delivering her first baby daughter; new Venetian headliners Human Nature; new Stratosphere topless cabaret starlet Claire Sinclair; volatile “Top Chef Seattle” kitchen queen Carla Pellegrino; and rockers from throughout the years. Our thanks to Denise Truscello of WireImage for her photo gallery and to Christopher Rauschnot @24kMedia on Twitter for his video posted on YouTube.
At the curtain call, the cast joined an enthusiastic, wildly cheering audience. There was nothing but praise for the energetic kids in the cast. Almost everybody had a flashlight to wave along with some of the powerhouse songs -- 23 in all.
This is an unmitigated hit. It’s fun, oh so much fun! You’ll be dancing in the aisles with the music. The voices are powerful. The actors are filled with unbridled enthusiasm and happiness. They are having as much fun as the audience. Don’t let this party ever end; it’s just too good and fun.
There was big news at the premiere and after-party in the former Dos Caminos restaurant in the adjoining Palazzo that had been used for rehearsals:
* A new version of “America’s Got Talent” will return to the former Jersey Boys theater in the Palazzo at the end of this month, with winners and finalists from various seasons.
* The four Australian pop singers who comprise Human Nature tell me that they have a whole new show with a lot of surprises in store when they open in the Venetian Showroom on Jan. 19.
* The quirky and outrageous musical “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” is getting a three-month early summer run at The Venetian. (The hit Australian boys-will-be-girls dance-tour show was an Oscar-winning 1994 film starring Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp.)
“Rock of Ages” is the new toast of the town. It’s bigger, better and bolder than the Broadway original I’d seen in the fall, and even though the producers don’t like my comment, it’s much, much better than the dismal movie version with Tom Cruise last summer. Hollywood should have left best alone, and if they’d hired theatrical director Kristin Hanggi, they’d have been basking in the glow of Saturday night’s gala premiere. I interviewed producer Scott Zeiger of Base Entertainment during rehearsals.
“Rock of Ages” is one rollicking good time and a show to make a must-see on a Las Vegas visit -- for ages 14 and older. It’s pure sing-along and dance-along fun, and you’ll feel as young as you were in the 1980s all over again.
Congratulations, kids: You are the best of casts and the nicest of folks. You deserve a long run, and watch out for those Hollywood talent scouts who will try to steal you away to those bright lights that sometimes never shine, as alluring as they might look. Stay on the Strip -- and become superstars!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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