Haul out the acid wash: ’Rock of Ages’ Cdn opening draws ’80s acts

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TORONTO — “Rock of Ages” brought on the noise and the nostalgia Tuesday as the Toronto production of the hit musical had its red-carpet opening with plenty of stars, teased hair and acid wash.

“Everything was larger than life in the ’80s,” Jim Peterik of the Chicago rock band Survivor said outside the Royal Alexandra Theatre in a long, embroidered leather jacket, headband, shades, zebra scarf and a cowboy hat.

“There was no subtlety, you know, it’s full-bore: ’I’m a star and I’m goin’ for it.’ ”

Said a leather-clad, long-haired Robb Reiner of the Canadian metal band Anvil: “It was about just playing, touring, having a lot of fun — and I’m still doing it. Actually, it’s even more fun now.”

Reiner and Peterik were among scores of hair-band members on the guest list for the Canadian premiere of the show that features ’80s rock hits and earned five Tony Award nominations on Broadway. Also invited were members of Twisted Sister, Foreigner, Triumph, Glass Tiger, Blue Rodeo, Parachute Club and Sloan.

“We’ve become an overnight hit over the last year and a half,” said Constantine Maroulis, the former “American Idol” finalist who starred in the Broadway show and will be in the U.S. national tour. “It’s been remarkable.”

The Toronto production of “Rock of Ages” stars Surrey, B.C., native Elicia MacKenzie and Yvan Pedneault, who hails from Sept-Iles, Que.

The 24-year-old MacKenzie — who is best known for starring in the hit Toronto musical “The Sound of Music” — plays Sherrie, an aspiring actress who moves from Kansas to Los Angeles to make it in show business.

Pedneault — the 29-year-old who starred in the musical “We Will Rock You” — plays her love interest, Drew, a young singer who works at a rock club on the Sunset Strip.

Tuesday’s opening saw audience members singing, bopping their heads and swaying their hands to such tunes as David Lee Roth’s “Livin’ in Paradise” and Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.”

While many patrons donned ’80s attire, Mark Holmes of Platinum Blonde preferred to keep it conservative with a suit.

His ’80s threads will remain part of his past, he said.

“I’m not one of those people who still owns acid-wash jeans . . . No acid wash in the closet, no leather trousers, nothing.”

Organizations: Rock of Ages, Royal Alexandra Theatre

Geographic location: TORONTO, Broadway, Chicago U.S. Surrey Sept-Iles, Que Kansas Los Angeles

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