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Rock of Ages at Limelight Theatre

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Achin’ for the ’80s with best rock for the ages
Rock of Ages, Limelight Theatre, musical, 80s, eighties, performing arts, Broadway, Tony Awards
Regina (Mary Del Casale, centre) leads a group of protesters (Bradley Vogels, left, Madeline McAllan, Chelsea Defontaine and Taylor Westland) in Rock of Ages. Picture: Ashleigh Taylor


The '80s are back at Limelight Theatre in the smash hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages. Written by Chris D'Arienzo and directed by Ashlee Torrens and Kathleen Del Casale, it's an LA love story where big hair meets big dreams in a rock'n'roll comedy romance.

A small-town girl, fresh off the bus and hoping to become a Hollywood star, meets a big-city dreamer who, while currently a busboy, is an aspiring rocker. Set in 1987 in LA's most legendary rock club, they fall in love to the greatest songs of the '80s.

Rock of Ages, Limelight Theatre, musical, 80s, eighties, performing arts, Broadway, Tony Awards
Rock of Ages features Aleisha Archer, left, as Sherrie and Matthew Winter as Drew. Picture: Ashleigh Taylor


Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical using classic songs from the era by iconic rockers such as Foreigner, Journey, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Poison, Starship, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake, Europe and Twisted Sister. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including best musical, in 2009, the original Broadway production ran for 2,328 performances over six years and is tied as the 29th-longest running show in Broadway history.

It was also made into a 2012 film with Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston and Russell Brand. The decision to direct Rock of Ages stems from Ashlee's long-time connection with the energetic musical – and Kathleen was eager to join her for the roller coaster ride.

Rock of Ages, Limelight Theatre, musical, 80s, eighties, performing arts, Broadway, Tony Awards
Matthew Winter gets swept up in his performance as Drew in Rock of Ages. Picture: Ashleigh Taylor

"It's the sort of musical that will have you dancing in the aisle," Kathleen said. "The show is a bawdy good time for anyone looking to forget their troubles and have some fun at the theatre."

Ashlee added: "There's something about the magic of '80s music that makes you want to party. Rock of Ages is a big, brash, energetic tribute to classic rock, over-the-top ballads and fierce guitar."

Rock of Ages, Limelight Theatre, musical, 80s, eighties, performing arts, Broadway, Tony Awards
The Bourbon Room staff in Rock of Ages, played by Bradley Vogels, left, Rebekah Del Casale, Blake Torrens, Ellie Coburn, Genevieve Chalkley, Laura Kovler and Lindsay Brennan. Picture: Ashleigh Taylor


Kathleen and Ashlee have been involved in theatre for a combined 20 years, first meeting at Limelight Theatre seven years ago when they were cast in the musical Hairspray. Since then, they have been in almost every musical staged at the theatre

"We're excited to be directing and being at the forefront for once," Kathleen said. "If you've only seen the movie, you're likely to be surprised how fun, playful and interactive Rock of Ages on stage is. The musical has its own brand and has lots of different songs that weren't in the movie."

Ashlee said they wanted to do the Broadway show justice. "It's a very fast-paced and intricate show, with overlapping elements and scenes," she said. "We want to make sure the audience are on their feet by the final bow and rockin' all the way home."

Rock of Ages, Limelight Theatre, musical, 80s, eighties, performing arts, Broadway, Tony Awards
Laura Kovler, Elizabeth Del Casale) in Rock of Ages. Picture: Ashleigh Taylor


Wilton Kerr plays Stacee Jaxx, a rock star who has lived the life a little too long. "He brings the ego with him but he's on the cusp of being a has-been," he said.

"But Stacee has done it all, drank it all and slept with them all. My main challenge is dieting – I've got to fit into those tight '80s pants somehow."

Involved in theatre his entire life, Wilton grew up on movie sets and backstage at theatres watching professionals do their job (his father, Bill Kerr, was a prominent actor in the UK and Australia). After moving to Sydney in 2002 to study and work in the performing arts, playing in venues such as the Capitol Theatre and State Theatre, he found greater success as a voiceover artist, singer and writer.

Rock of Ages, Limelight Theatre, musical, 80s, eighties, performing arts, Broadway, Tony Awards
Sherrie (Aleisha Archer, left) shares her dreams with the waitress (Lindsay Brennan). Picture: Ashleigh Taylor


Wilton moved back to Perth in 2010, continuing his voiceover and live music work, and was given a chance to return to the stage in Limelight Theatre's 2015 production of Sweet Charity. "Limelight is an incredibly welcoming community with fantastic talent," he said.

"When Rock of Ages was announced I chased down the most rock star role, effectively pulling together all my experience into the one pot. Rock of Ages is about live music, which is my life.

"I play in a band to more than 1000 people multiple times a week, jumping off speakers and screaming at the top of my lungs. This show allows me to just do what I do best."

Rock of Ages, Limelight Theatre, musical, 80s, eighties, performing arts, Broadway, Tony Awards
Lonny (Daniel Ade, left) and Drew (Matthew Winter) contemplate life in the bar. Picture: Ashleigh Taylor


Rock of Ages plays at 8pm November 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, December 5, 6 and 7 with a 2pm matinee November 23. Tickets are $32, $28 concession – book at www.limelighttheatre.com.au or on 0499 954 016.

Please note: the production contains coarse language and sexual themes. Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.


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Why? Some describe enjoying ‘80s music as being a guilty pleasure – but this musical shows there shouldn’t be any guilt at all when rockin’ on down to the classics.
When: 8pm November 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, December 5, 6 & 7; 2pm November 23
Phone: 0499 954 016
Where: Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo
Cost: $32, $28 concession
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