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"Rock of Ages" ★★★

Whatever they're paying Constantine Maroulis — the lovable, shaggy-headed pop star with the sweet smile and megawatt voice — it just ain't enough. Without Maroulis, this jukebox satire of 1980s rock culture would be a shrill parody. But with him, " Rock of Ages" actually has heart. You find yourself emoting all over the place for his ridiculous character, Drew, an aspiring, love-lorn rocker who knocks out power ballads, Slurpee in hand. The big, smart idea behind this Broadway show is that 1980s rock — Journey, Whitesnake, REO Speedwagon — makes ideal music for the theater. Writer Chris D'Arienzo sends up those portentous rockers, giving us permission to enjoy the songs. The plot is absurd, the '80s iconography is shameless, but for adults ages 25 to 50, "Rock of Ages" is a heck of a good time. Through Oct. 3 at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St.; $18-$85 at 800-775-2000 and broadwayinchicago.com
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