The rollicking musical Rock of Ages rolls into National Theatre on July 12 on its first national tour. Starring American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis, the Tony nominated Broadway hit is a celebration of iconic 1980s American rock bands like Journey and Foreigner. Choreographer Kelly Devine creates dance moves for the stage that enhance the musical experience for the audience and gives the dancers an excuse to wear those skimpy outfits and headbands that we all remember from MTV videos of the day.
She talked to Arts Post about her time in rehearsal and her reflections on the decade.
“The ’80s were an unbelievable time for music. The power chords, the infamous guitar solos, and double kick bass drums make it impossible for me to stay still.
I grew up in Los Angeles, so I feel I know this era very well. I never wanted the choreography of Rock of Ages to feel like a parody of the ’80s. I wanted it to be the real deal, authentic. The music is so muscular and the dance needed to reflect that.
My rapport with the dancers usually gets established way before the first day of rehearsal. The audition process is very lengthy and I think by the time they get cast, they know who they are dealing with. Rock of Ages is a very fun show to work on, and I like to have fun while doing it, but I expect complete focus, doing your homework, and bringing your A game everyday......anything less just doesn’t work.
The big bands of the eighties that wrote the hits in our show didn’t really have a lot of choreography in their videos. They would have concert footage, where the lead singer usually had his own signature moves, or they would have some beautiful women in front of a fan, or slithering on the hood of a car, but they didn’t really have dancers and choreography. So I think the audience identifies with the music and then seeing actual choreography with it is a surprise.”
“Rock of Ages” will be at the National Theatre July 12 - 24. For more information, visit nationaltheatre.org.