If you enjoyed the local productions of Cabaret, Chicago and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, chances are you’ll get a real kick out of Rock of Ages.
“You might even love Rock of Ages more because all of those shows are really dark,” producer Sydney Black told the Star. “Cabaret is sad, in Chicago you realize you’ve been siding with the bad guys the whole time, and Hedwig has hope at the end of it but there’s still an underlying grimy despair.”
Not so with her latest show, which is the fourth musical she’s mounted in Nelson. And she’s hoping that means plenty of community members will be champing at the bit to join her vocal team.
Auditions will be held at the Selkirk College music building on Saturday, Jan. 9 and Sunday, Jan. 10. They are looking for singers, actors and dancers 18 and older.
“This is our first production where it’s been fluffy and fun and happy. The songs are really high-lighted. Hedwig was a heavy acting show, Cabaret and Chicago had a lot of dance, but this show is put together and organized to highlight the songs.”
Those include crowd-pleasing favourites like “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison.
“This show is more accessible because of that,” Black said. “It’s like a rock concert.”
But this time around, she won’t be front and centre.
“This show I’ve decided to step back from taking a lead role and I’ve taken a part in the ensemble. This is a community group and we change directors all the time — our choreographer Mackenzie Hope is the only one who’s been consistent —and I thought it was time to change things up.”
So who are they looking for?
“Traditionally we haven’t been getting enough men, and we need men,” Black said, noting one of the plum roles is that of aging rockstar Stacey Jaxx, who was played by Tom Cruise in the big-screen version.
“He oozes sex and sexuality. He’s a rockstar at the end of his career who’s really famous, and he’s had all these incredible things happen to him.”
They’re also looking for Dennis Dupree, a seedy nightclub owner, and a female gentleman’s club owner named Justice Charlier. The lead roles of Drew and Sherrie are also still up for grabs.
“They’re younger characters, and they both have to sing crazy high. The male needs to be a tenor and the female needs to be a mezzo-soprano or a soprano-belter.”
A number of characters will be scantily clad, so Black said many of roles require a comfort with being disrobed on stage. They’re bringing in exotic dancing expert Emma Kjelson to school the cast on their sexy choreography.
“Plus she’s auditioning, so maybe you’ll see her on stage too,” said Black.
Selkirk College is donating all funds raised through room rentals for Rock of Ages rehearsals to the scholarship fund started by Black Productions last year. It will eventually make it possible for a new music student to receive funds each year.
“We’ve been so supported by local businesses and people in the community. The things people do for us are crazy — Zap Welding is making us poles, Kootenay Glass is making us things, there are businesses buying ads so we can pay the performers.”
Black encouraged everyone and anyone to come out for auditions, if only for the experience.
“We just like to have the most fun while being as professional as possible for small town community theatre. We want to elevate it to the point where people don’t feel like they have to drive to Spokane to get inspired and see a quality show. They can have that right here in Nelson.”