Dan England | dengland@greeleytribune.com

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January 2, 2013
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'Rock of Ages:' Famous musical coming to the Lincoln Center

Universo Pereira admits it’s a challenge not to play his famous character in “Rock of Ages” a little over the top.

In fact, those who loved hair metal and the 1980s could take his performance — and the Broadway musical making a stop in Fort Collins on its national tour — as a dig.

Pereira models his character, Stacee Jaxx, after David Lee Roth and Bret Michaels, two of the wilder frontmen in hard rock history. Jaxx wears leather chaps and an outrageous blonde wig. He has an extra X in his last name.

Yet Pereira sees his character, and the production, as a tribute to the era of Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Bon Jovi and all that hairspray and shimmering scarfs and more makeup than a Mary Kay representative. Yes, it pokes fun at the era. How can you NOT poke fun at that era? But Pereira is 34. He was raised by older sisters who loved the music and sprayed their hair into skyscrapers. He gets it.

“We’ve all karaoked Bon Jovi,” Pereira said in a phone interview. “At least in the car or in the shower. The songs have obviously stood the test of time. You still hear them.”

Pereira’s first concert was Def Leppard, and he calls the musical, which opens Wednesday and stays for two consecutive nights in the Lincoln Center, a “half-concert.” Jaxx’s band is on stage the entire show and plays many classic ‘80s hits, including others from Foreigner and Journey. It’s in your face, he said (borrowing an ‘80s cliche) from the moment the curtains split.

That’s important, Pereira said, because the movie, which opened to lukewarm reviews and response, isn’t the same as watching the production live. The movie did some good — it raised awareness about the production — but he thrives on getting that energy back from the crowd.

“If you are a theater-goer, you aren’t used to seeing something like this,” said Pereira, who has parents who love the stage and needed a warning that the show was different than what they were used to.

Pereira appreciates the music and was a fan before he got the role of Jaxx, his first in a theatrical production (he was a rock singer before he auditioned). Some may poke fun, but it’s true that the era didn’t need anything but a good time.

“This era does get a lot of crap,” Pereira said. “But let’s face it. There are a lot of great songs. And a great song is a great song.”

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My Windsor Now Updated Jan 15, 2013 12:02PM Published Jan 30, 2013 11:18PM Copyright 2013 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.