As a venue that presents bands like Foreigner, REO Speedwagon and Journey, Ruth Eckerd Hall is ideal for Rock of Ages, the musical that celebrates mullets, lap dances, air guitar and head-banging rock.
"If there was ever a Broadway show that is in line with almost the mainstay of Ruth Eckerd Hall's programming, it's Rock of Ages," said Robert Freedman, CEO of the Clearwater hall. "It's all about the '80s rock groups, which is so much of the genre that we do, and is the most successful for us. It's Mamma Mia! meets '80s rock 'n' roll."
The tour of Rock of Ages, making its first appearance in the bay area, tops the Ruth Eckerd Broadway lineup for 2010-11. Incidentally, it was the Broadway cast of the metal-head musical with whom Bret Michaels of Poison was performing when a piece of scenery flattened him during last year's Tony Awards telecast.
Another show on the schedule new to the market is Young Frankenstein, the Mel Brooks followup to The Producers. Directed by Susan Stroman, Young Frankenstein didn't live up to the hype and ran a little more than a year on Broadway until early 2009. The tour began in September in Providence, R.I.
"I will tell you, I enjoyed the road version of the show more than I did the Broadway version," Freedman said. "There was a different kind of energy on the tour."
The season also includes three performances of Spring Awakening, the Tony-winning rock musical; The Aluminum Show, which consists of dance and theater around metal tubing in the spirit of Stomp; and the ever-popular Grease.
John Fleming can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8716. He blogs on Critics Circle at blogs.tampabay.com/arts.