Rock of Ages – Production 2017

Newlands College has a proud tradition of producing outstanding musicals that are exciting to be part of, entertaining to watch, and critically acclaimed by the Independent Herald. Last year we celebrated the 1960s and being true to yourself in Hairspray. This year we have a musical in the works that we are confident can soar to the same outstanding heights. Today I’m going to tell you a bit more about the musical this year and then explain how you can get involved.


The musical for 2016 is ‘Rock of Ages’ – some of your might know the film version staring Tom Cruise that came out in 2012, but it is dreadful and you should hate it. I’ll explain more why shortly.

The musical is set on the crazy, sleazy, glam-rockin’ Sunset Strip, near Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, back in the 1980s. There is where big-haired dudes and the girls who adored them turned the boulevard into their own personal playground. The 80s for the Sunset Strip was a decade of decadence. For the big bands of the time that emerged in this scene like Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses, Poison, they were living an insane lifestyle doing lots of things we won’t be depicting because this is a school musical.

Our musical takes place on the Sunset Strip in a fictional bar called Dupree’s Bourbon Room. The owner, Dennis Dupree and his offsider Lonny are facing the threat of some evil German developers, Hilda and her fabulous son Franz who want to knock down the Bourbon Room and erase the history of the strip. Dennis and Lonny of course don’t want this to happen and hatch a plan to have Staci Jaxx, massive star of the decade and front man of the band Arsenal to play a huge gig in the Bourbon Room to save it from extinction. This leads to several showdowns – this clip is from the movie, but I’m only showing you because given this musical is so recent there is very little high quality clips online – these songs do appear in the stage show so they’ll give you a bit of an idea of the music:

Meanwhile, Sherrie is a Kansas girl who has moved to LA to try and make it big as an actress. She meets Drew, who is also trying to make it big in LA. The storylines all interweave, we end up at a Venus a-Go-Go Dance club, the Mayor gets involved, there’s a reporter from the Rolling Stone, a scene in the bathroom of the Bourbon Room (which we will stage tastefully) as well as songs from Bon Jovi, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar and of course Journey, who provide the showstopping finale which was performed along with some other parts of the show in the Tony Awards:

If you want to be part of this magnificent opportunity, then we want you to audition. We are looking to fill the stage with a diverse cast. There are key roles that will be cast through callbacks as well as some minor roles that will be cast later on down the rehearsal process. This includes…

  • We are looking for a Lonny. This will be cast gender blind, so it could be played by anyone. Lonny is the master of ceremonies who narrates the show. We will need someone who can channel a Jack Black like character for this role.
  • We are looking for a Sherrie and a Drew, just a small town girl and a city boy, as the leads they have lots of big numbers and need to convincingly play a love story
  • We are looking for a Staci Jaxx, a comedic villain of the show, is a rock star who doesn’t quite realize through his selfish and wild antics that he’s reached the peak of his career.
  • We are looking for Justice, the matriarch of the strip. A strong female role with some awesome vocal moments.
  • As well as many other parts we also need to fill the world of the Sunset Strip with a chorus of talented people. The chorus will play protesters, waitresses, bar patrons, rockers, construction workers, police and much much more.

We need people that can sing, dance and act as everyone on stage will be required to do all three. To audition you need to sing and dance for us. You do not have to be an outstanding singer, or the world’s best dancer. We are looking for a balanced cast with lots of people that have different strengths. We need people who can sing in tune with a bit of volume and people that can move confidently to music. We would really encourage you to give it a go. There are plenty of roles that don’t involve singing that we will cast once rehearsals have begun.

The most frequent excuse for not auditioning is that people do not want to sing alone. The audition is the only time you will have to do this and is essential because we simply need to measure that you can hold a tune. The spoiler I’ll give you here is that most people who think they can’t sing, actually can. Practice at home and give us a confident performance and you might just be surprised. You’ve got nothing to lose.

The auditions will be on lunchtimes and after school this Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday. To prepare for the audition you need to go to the Rock of Ages website. On this site you can find out all about Rock of Ages, including more about the background, plot, numbers, characters etc. You can click the audition tab to prepare and sign up through the google form. See Mr Cargill in the Dean’s Room if you have any issues with this online process. On the audition page you can see the song that you will asked to sing at you singing audition, and you will see the clip that has the dance routine we will ask you to show us. 

To seriously prepare I highly recommend not watching the 2012 Tom Cruise film. There are some really great parts to this film, but on the whole plays the humour and the period completely wrong. It uses star power instead of characters, and slapstick instead of comedy. Instead, there are a collection of resources on the production website – I’d recommend spending some time in there instead of wasting your time with a two star film.

We are looking for a committed and enthusiastic cast which means we want to see you prepared for the audition, having learnt the dance routine and being familiar with the song. Next week we will ask some of the auditionees to come back for callbacks to cast the leads. And later that week we will post the chorus list of those that have been successful on the Rock of Ages website. We wish we could take everybody that wants to be involved – but practical reasons, like how many people we can actually fit on stage and costume, means that we have to limit the number of people we have in the cast.

The production remains a significant highlight on the school calendar. Even if performing isn’t your thing, there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved backstage, in the design, publicity or the technical side. Otherwise we hope to see all of you in the audience for what will be another outstanding Newlands College musical production.

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1 Response to Rock of Ages – Production 2017

  1. Pingback: Rock of Ages – Assembly Preview | Newlands College – The Y13 Blog

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