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'Idol' brings 'Rock of Ages'

Fourth season contestant has gone down the path of acting with the tour of a 1980s musical feast.

February 15, 2011|By Candice Baker
(Courtesy Joan Marcus )

It seems that this is the role he was born to play.

For "American Idol" finalist Constantine Maroulis, portraying a would-be rock star has meant critical acclaim, a Tony nomination and … unbearably freezing temperatures.

Hopefully that last part changes when the national tour of the musical "Rock of Ages" rolls into Costa Mesa next week.

"We have been freezing our fargin' butts off," Maroulis laughed, describing their last few months of touring in locations like Louisville, Minneapolis and Orlando. The show opened in the Windy City in September.

"Florida was wickedly cold," he said, using a few other choice adjectives to describe the tour's constant stream of bad weather luck.

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Maroulis said the cast and crew are excited to bring the show, an unashamed, unabashed tribute to '80s pop rock, back to Southern California — where much of it is set, and where it first premiered in Hollywood in 2006.

"The show takes place on Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip, so it'll be a lot of fun," Maroulis said.

'I Wanna Rock'

The show is set in the heady days of 1987 — back when Gordon Gekko first taught moviegoers that greed is good, U2's "With or Without You" was a new release, and the launch of a drug called Prozac captivated the world.

Maroulis stars as busboy Drew, "just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit," of course, who dreams of being a rock star. And just as naturally, Drew falls in love with "a small-town girl living in a lonely world" named Sherrie.

Between delving into the murky worlds of redevelopment scandals, exotic dancing and pizza delivery, the show is a raucous trip through the time of mullets, leg warmers and wine coolers, punctuated with hits like "Wanted Dead or Alive," "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You."

The show is considered a "jukebox musical" because its songs already were hits before being incorporated into the musical's score, as was the case for "Mamma Mia!" and "Jersey Boys."

It also draws an unexpectedly varied audience, Maroulis said.

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