Bringing the mythical world of the ‘80s to life

Wild Drama holding auditions for ‘Rock of Ages (High School Edition)’ on first day of school

Rock of Ages (High School Edition) — Wild Drama's fall production

Rock of Ages (High School Edition) — Wild Drama's fall production

Barry Coulter

Wild Drama is wasting no time, getting set to bring the mythical world of the 1980s to the stage of the Key City Theatre.

The dramatic season at Mount Baker Secondary School kicks off immediately — with auditions for the fall production of “Rock Of Ages (High School edition)” taking place Tuesday, Sept. 6. Although school is only in session for a couple of hours in the morning, students are invited back at 3:30 for an exciting “triple threat” audition process.

Wild Drama is mounting a so-called juke box musical, “Rock of Ages,” built around classic rock songs from the 1980s, featuring songs from the likes of Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe (the Def Leppard song “Rock of Ages” is not included).

Drama instructor Mary Hamilton — director of previous productions like “Urinetown” and last year’s “The Optimist” and “Mary Poppins” — says such a juke box musical is not normally her “kind of thing,” but noticed while she was perusing the script how quickly the music got into her head. This is the ’80s, we’re talking about after all — or singing about, rather.

The hit show, which is fresh off Broadway and the West End and now making the regional rounds, is set in Los Angeles, mainly in the “Bourbon Bar,” one of the Sunset Strip’s last legendary venues, populated with arrogant rock stars and their hangers-on, kids full of dreams, and a hard-rocking ensemble. But the rock and roll fairy-tale is about to end when developers set out to turn the fabled Strip into just another strip mall. Can the locals save the Bourbon Bar? The answer is in the music.

“The emphasis is on fun,” Hamilton said, “and the crowd is going to love it.”

And all students are invited to come out at 3:30 to the drama department Tuesday afternoon. The show is very funny, Hamilton said, and perfectly suited to those who enjoy a crowd, who can work a crowd. But there are places for anyone in this lively ensemble cast. Hamilton says the idea of being in a musical shouldn’t scare anyone off.

“A lot of people think they can’t sing,” she said, “until they get on stage and find they can sing. Especially if they are right for the part.”

Hamilton added that musical theatre is still Theatre. “The singing is important, but so is the acting. They both drive the story.”

Don’t forget the choreography, led by Anna Ruoss, who served as Dance Captain in last spring’s “Mary Poppins.”

“The choreography will be fun and upbeat,” Ruoss said. “We’re striving to be period correct. I pulled in some old moves off of YouTube.”

The rock band, which will be placed right on stage, will be led by MBSS music director Evan Bueckert and Parkland Middle School’s Kaley Wasylowich.

Hamilton explained the audition process.

Auditions will split into groups of four. Anna Ruoss will teach them a quick stretch of choreography. Bueckert and Wasylowich will give them a short piece of music to sing, and Hamilton a piece of text to act. Everyone will then audition these trio of pieces.

Hamilton said the roles will be posted the following Friday. She added that there are plenty of backstage opportunities available as well.

For more information, people can check for updates on the Wild Theatre Facebook page.