nytheatre.com review by Eric Winick
According to Rockshow’s press release, writer/director Paul
Stancato has set out to "redefine the bounds of traditional theatre" by
coining the phrase "Rock Theatre—A New Genre For a New Generation."
While the originality of said genre may be questionable, there’s no
denying Rockshow’s sleek, professional sheen, or the fact that
its performers are, for the most part, as talented in the acting realm
as they are musically.
August 15, 2003
It’s a shame to report, therefore, that, in providing a glimpse into a night in the life of power-pop band Group Therapy, Rockshow manages to mine every Up and Coming Band clich� known to man: the lead guitarist (Chris Blisset) who pushes for a more "radio friendly" sound; the frontman (Jaime McAdams) who worries about "kow-towing to industry standards"; the drummer (Jonathan Roumie) who suspects that the manager (Sky Spiegel) might be pushing them in the wrong direction; the bassist (Jessica Isaacson) who struggles with her feelings for the lead guitarist; and, of course, the sleazoid, coked-up record exec (a histrionic Tyler Evans) who only has the band’s best interests at heart.
Okay, fine. Rockshow is fun from time to time, but you can’t get around the fact that it’s plowing a pretty exhausted furrow. There’s nothing inherently wrong with stories about underdogs and the pressures that beset them—as long as they shine new light on their subject. The best shows of this genre—Hedwig and the Angry Inch remains the gold standard—weave their stories through their songs, not around them. Here, as Group Therapy launches repeatedly into its signature keening crunch, the effect doesn’t amplify your understanding of the narrative—it simply stops the show dead.
Recently, Stancato joined the cast of bachelors on CBS-TV’s Cupid, a fact that was hammered home on the night I saw Rockshow, when a reality TV crew, complete with boom mikes and lighting apparatus, came scurrying after him and his fetching date as they entered the theater. All of which made for an amusing experience, until it became clear that the crew was also turning its camera on the audience. I tried to focus exclusively on the show, but found myself continually wondering where the camera was, and what it was seeing. Not an ideal way to experience theater, granted; then, given Rockshow’s predilection for leaving no stone unturned, I needn’t have bothered showing up. After all, I’d seen it all before.