Rock on Broadway has officially arrived: the hair-metal musical Rock of Ages received five Tony nominations this morning, including a nod for the prestigious Best Musical (beating out Dolly Parton’s new 9 to 5). The show also scored nominations for Leading Actor in a Musical (for Constantine Maroulis), Best Direction of a Musical (for Kristin Hanggi), Best Costume Design for a Musical (for Gregory Gale) and Best Sound Design for a Musical (for Peter Hylenski). Dysfunctional family musical Next to Normal, the show that proves “rock is still thriving on Broadway,” per Rolling Stone‘s own Peter Travers, received nods for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Leading Actor in a Musical, Leading Actress in a Musical, Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Lighting Design and Sound Design for a total of 11 nominations. The Tony Awards will be handed out June 7th at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
Rock of Ages stars onetime American Idol hopeful Maroulis as Drew, an aspiring hard rocker who moves to L.A. to make it big and winds up working as a bar-back in a famous dive called the Bourbon, where he meets the girl of his dreams and gets the opportunity of a lifetime: opening up for local legends Arsenal, who are playing their last-ever show before German developers take over the Strip and demolish the bar. The show is a “mixtape musical,” writer Chris D’Arienzo told Rock Daily, featuring hits by Poison, Extreme, Twisted Sister and many more. The production’s onstage metal band is led by Night Ranger’s Joel Hoekstra.
The show debuted off-Broadway in the fall of 2008, when Maroulis told Rock Daily the set list is “the kind of material that stays with you.” And while the show includes tunes by Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Pat Benatar and Styx, it doesn’t boast the Def Leppard song that gives it its name, due to licensing issues — Def Leppard won’t give up the goods. “They’re very courteous every time I call,” producer Janet Billig Rich told RS. “It totally works without them and we get to have a joke on them at the top of the show. David Coverdale [in voice over] says, ‘In case of fire, please refrain from singing Def Leppard’s ‘Pyromania’ because we couldn’t get the rights to any of their music.’ “
After the Tonys, the next stop for Rock of Ages is the big screen (D’Arienzo told Rolling Stone he is already penning the screenplay for a New Line film). And the next stop for rock musicals is Green Day’s American Idiot show, which will premiere in September, and Bono and the Edge’s Spider-Man musical.