March 23, 2018
New York City, NY
After interviewing singer and co-creator, Rob Evan, and watching this show on PBS, I was eager to see if Rocktopia lived up to its hype live on a Broadway stage. It did and then some! Unfortunately, Rocktopia only had a six-week residency at the Broadway Theatre, and by the time this review goes to print, the run would have ended with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander as the final special guest to close the show out. Other special guests during the six-week run included Dee Snider from Twisted Sister and Pat Monahan from Train.
The night my wife and I attended, Pat Monahan was the special guest. The show opened with an amazing rendition of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss into an energetic version of “Baba O’Riley” from The Who. Rob Evan and fellow vocalist Tony Vincent sounded lights out on this, and hearing them do this live blew me away. Their voices are so strong and Tony Vincent’s theatrical moves on stage really brought every song he sang to life. Then the ensemble came out and performed Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” into “Come Sail Away” from STYX. I looked around at the crowd to gauge their reactions and there were some people really into these classic rock songs mixed in with these classic compositions. The older folks in the crowd seemed confused as to what was going on.
My wife and I really enjoyed the set list which included songs like “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me” from Sir Elton John, “Alone” from Heart, “Dream On” from Aerosmith, and the Queen classics like “We Are The Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But the song that really touched us on this particular night was when Pat Monahan from Train came out and sang Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” I had just said goodbye and buried my best friend earlier that day, and Zeppelin was one of his favorite bands. When the orchestra started playing it — and hearing Monahan’s voice sound like a dead ringer for Robert Plant — the waterworks for my wife and me broke out and we just started crying! Rocktopia’s version of “Stairway to Heaven” with Pat Monahan singing was incredibly beautiful! And then to bring Monohan out again to sing “Kashmir” and ending the first act with Puccini’s “Nessum Dorma,” all I can say is “Bravo!”
If you missed this run of shows, I really hope they bring Rocktopia back next year for another run because Rob Evan, and co-creator and maestro Randall Craig Fleischer, did an amazing job arranging the music and putting this set list together for this show. It was so much fun and a great show to take a date to. Rocktopia without a doubt had a little bit of everything for everyone. Let’s hope they can bring this one back to Broadway!