When “Rock of Ages” opened on Broadway in 2009, it was honored with five Tony Award nominations and went on to run for more than six years and 2,300 performances.
Fueled by and built around classic rock songs from the 1980s by bands like Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister and Poison among other well-known rock bands, “Rock of Ages” became the 29th longest running show in Broadway history.
In 2012, “Rock of Ages” opened as a feature film with Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand and Catherine Zeta-Jones. On March 24, this flashback to the ‘80s opened at the iconic Alhambra Theatre and Dining in Jacksonville.
The songs underscore a tale of big Hollywood dreams. Soon after hopping off a bus from the Midwest, aspiring singer Sherrie Christian immediately finds herself in trouble. Coming to her rescue is Drew, a bar-back at the legendary club the Bourbon Room. With stars in their eyes, the young lovers chase their dreams, but a misunderstanding involving rock icon Stacee Jaxx threatens to tear them apart.
The Bourbon Room is owned by former rock star Dennis Dupree, played by actual local rock-and-roller Ron Perry.
Originally from Detroit, Perry played in a punk band right out of high school. While playing in a small club in Detroit, he had a chance meeting with Molly Hatchet’s John Galvin, who recruited Perry to replace then-departing singer, Danny Joe Brown, and Perry moved to Jacksonville.
Danny Joe returned to the band, displacing Perry, but not before his song “Take Miss Lucy Home” was included on Hatchet’s 1989 Capitol Records album, “Lightning Strikes Twice.” Hatchet’s management team helped Perry form the band China Sky, which was quickly signed by CBS Records and had two minor hits.
In the late ‘90s, Perry began touring with his own band, The Ron Perry Connection, and opened his own recording studio, Jacksonville’s American Media Sound & Video.
For the last 10 years, Perry has been filming all of Alhambra’s shows to create and produce the theater’s TV commercials. It was during a shoot for the Alhambra’s 2022 lineup that casting director Shain Stroff saw Perry through a different lens, that of trying to find the right Dennis Dupree.
Perry had the right look. A trained musician and bona fide rock-and-roll front man with natural stage presence, Perry had, however, never acted, and was cast with a little “roll of the dice,” as Alhambra owner Craig Smith put it.
Perry quickly came under the tutelage of long-time director and former Alhambra owner, Todd Booth Sr., and in one week Perry was playing a rock and roller as opposed to being one.
“Rock of Ages” will run through May 2. The Alhambra Theatre & Dining is located at 12000 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville. Tickets start at $48 and include a three-course meal that changes for each show, a Broadway-style performance and complimentary parking. Tickets can be purchases online at alhambrajax.com or by calling 904-641-1212.
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