It was the decade of hairspray-soaked teased hair, parachute pants and Pac-Man. Though it’s a fashion phase some would love to forget, if you find yourself particularly drawn to scrunchies, leg warmers, blue eye shadow and neon sweaters, there's a new event headed to Austin that will allow you to enjoy all the big hair band music you can handle.
The Rock of Ages movie hit the big screen this summer and from Sept. 25 to 30, the touring Broadway musical that inspired the film will remind the Live Music Capital of the World why '80s glam rock bands were so successful.
"Even if you didn’t grow up in the '80s, or if you did and you like the music… There's one aspect that you have to respect about this musical; it’s ability to turn something on inside of each audience member," Rock of Ages performer Chris Sams says. Sams is a Houston native who has been playing three roles (Mayor, Ja’Keith and ensemble) on the national tour of Rock of Ages for more than a year. This will be his first time performing in front of an Austin audience and he has high expectations.
"You’re in for fun, you’re in for drinks, you’re in for high fives, you’re in for metal bands, stripper poles, you’re in for it all!" !
"To be in Austin is going to be really cool. I find Texas audiences to be very welcoming and inviting just like the state itself… I'm expecting a lot of hooting and hollering!" Sams adds, "Texas has always been very special to me. It’s always been home. I wear this red hat — it’s a baseball hat for the Texas Rangers. People ask me why I wear it — I’m really not a baseball fan. I’m more of a Texas fan than anything, and that’s why I wear it."
Rock of Ages is unlike any other Broadway musical and even appeals to people who aren't usually drawn to plays or musicals.
"It’s a good musical for someone who has really not been exposed to musicals… If this is your first time coming to a musical this is a really good one because a lax time is more than encouraged and you’re a part of the show; you’re not just a spectator. You’ll be in for a pleasant surprise."
The musical love story, which at times resembles a rock concert, features dozens of hits from the '80s including “Don't Stop Believing," “Wanted Dead of Alive," “We Built this City” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot." Sams says audience participation — including a little head banging — is encouraged.
“We get a lot of people that kind of don’t know what to expect, but once they realize what the show is about and what songs they’re going to be hearing, you see their faces light up. It’s awesome.”
From the opening electric guitar solo to the haze that looms over the stage, the high energy cast of Rock of Ages engages the audience from start to finish. Dig out your best '80s garb and head to the Long Center from Sept. 25 - 30 for a throw back to the golden age of the hair band.
Sams sums it up best, "You’re gonna know you are in for a treat and for something that’s not traditional. You’re in for fun, you’re in for drinks, you’re in for high fives, you’re in for metal bands, stripper poles, you’re in for it all!"