Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll is a concept album of a play, an expansive, indulgent re-creation of '60s protest morality and musical idealism told across three decades and two countries. The sheer scope of the thing lends itself to actors noodling around onstage in hopes of that Kevin Kline nomination or, worse, scenes being performed with a perfunctory "keep it moving" pace in order to get to the good stuff. Milt Zoth mastered the intricacies of Rock 'n' Roll and channeled his performers' talents into a cohesive whole. The result was a play that unfolded with an organic sense of purpose across its almost three-hour length. People spoke because they were moved to, not because of the script; husbands and wives saw each other anew at the end of their relationship; characters died because their time was up; and, somehow, a totalitarian regime crumbled while a politically apathetic young man grew old flipping yet another record and dropping the needle on the B-side. The inexorable march of time faded away, and in its stead was the ghostly backbeat of life, a steady movement toward the ultimate end we all face.
© 2017 Riverfront Times