"Rock N Roll" Opens at ACT: A User's Guide


Summer Serafin in the opening scene of Rock 'N' Roll (photo by Kevin Berne, courtesy of ACT)

It's been a good couple of weeks for SF fans of both Broadway and music, what with the arrival of Spring Awakening at the Curran and, now, Tom Stoppard's Rock 'N' Roll at ACT. Note that I didn't say Broadway-musical fans--neither of these productions are your typical Rodgers and Hart or Andrew Lloyd Weber fare (not that there's anything wrong with that kind of thing). Spring Awakening is a bit closer to the traditional musical--given that it has full production numbers--while Rock 'N' Roll is your classic Stoppardian thinkfest-with-a-heart, and some extremely appropriate musical connective tissue. (It also reminded me, at times, of that heartbreaking 2006 film The Lives of Others.)

The interrogation scene in Act 1 (from left, Anthony Fusco and Manoel Felciano)

Before you go, though, read what Jon Pareles had to say in the NY Times last year about the Plastic People of the Universe, the Prague band that is a touchstone for one main character, Jan, throughout the play. (The play's program helpfully includes a reprint of Pareles' piece, but it's a bit hard to get through in the dim light of the theater, waiting for the curtain to rise.)

By the way, if you like what you hear of the Plastic People during the play, the band itself will be coming to town on Oct. 9 to play at Slim's. Don't miss the chance to hear a piece of history.
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