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‘Rock of Ages’ returns to UTEP

Due+to+popular+demand%2C+the+UTEP+Dinner+Theatre+will+bring+back+their+hit+musical+%E2%80%98Rock+of+Ages%E2%80%99+live+on+stage+July+8-24.
Angel Ulloa
Due to popular demand, the UTEP Dinner Theatre will bring back their hit musical ‘Rock of Ages’ live on stage July 8-24.

The UTEP Dinner Theatre presents a return engagement of the Tony Award-nominated Broadway jukebox musical “Rock of Ages” through July 24.

The performances will be presented in place of the previously scheduled run of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” a decision made after 15 showings of the ‘80s’ glam-inspired show sold out earlier this year.

“We’ve redone shows before, but we’ve never brought one back in the same season, so it’s an experiment for us,” said Greg Taylor, director of the UDT.

The show’s musical numbers, which include well-known and loved ‘80s hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin,’” “Hit me With Your Best Shot” and “We’re not Gonna Take It” warranted the addition of four more shows than originally scheduled during its original run in February.

Taylor said that many people who came to the show earlier this year did not even know that the 33-year-old dinner theater existed before, but came to hear the 80’s songs they know performed live.

“It’s like a new discovery for them,” Taylor said. “It helps us build our audience; to get those new people in that will come back and try ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ or whatever else we do here.”

Unlike other performance groups at UTEP, the dinner theater does not receive much of its funding from fees, so attracting new people is a great help.

The costumes, sets and cast (except for two minor characters and a guitarist) are the same as the initial showings. Even people who came to see it before will notice the tighter performances that come from the extra practices and will still enjoy it.

“What makes it so fun is the live aspect of it,” Taylor said. “It’s so spontaneous and fun that it feels like a rock concert, but it also has a story.”

Keeping true to the original Broadway show, the story revolves around two young people who move to LA and takes place primarily in a bar and strip club, complete with smoke, wind machines and an MTV-style video projection.

The show does include scantily clad women and a few expletives, but is not obscene or dirty. It was, in fact, a hit with the students who viewed it during the theater’s high school night.

“It’s the most raucous response we’ve ever had from the high school audience!” Taylor said. “They sang along louder than the cast–shocked the hell out of me.”

The UDT tries to balance the number of contemporary shows it performs with the classics, and plans to stage performances of “Mamma Mia!” as soon as the rights are made available.

The UDT performs on the second floor of UTEP’s Union West Building.

Tickets are available at the UTEP Ticket Center, through Ticketmaster and by phone at 800-745-3000.

Andria Granado may be reached at [email protected]

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‘Rock of Ages’ returns to UTEP