PHOTOS: Steamboat Springs High School students rocking the ‘80s in show for the ages
The music and styles of 1987 will step into the spotlight this week, as students from Steamboat Springs High School invite the community to step back in time for “Rock of Ages,” which opens Thursday, Nov. 10.
“They should expect big hair, denim, leather and all the accoutrements of the ‘80s,” said Sam Ackerman, who is co-directing this year’s high school musical with McCormick Leys. “They should expect a bunch of songs that they’re going to want to sing along with the chorus every single line because it’s the greatest hits of 1987.”
The cast includes 25 students who sing, dance and act their way back into the rock scene of the late 1980s with songs including “Paradise City,” “Sister Christian” and “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” and visions of groups like Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe.
Senior Bridger Carlton, who plays Stacee Jaxx, said it’s been one of the most fun and technically difficult shows that he has been a part of at the high school.
“It’s honestly just been an incredibly fun production to be a part of because in the past, we’ve done more traditional musicals, but this time we can actually express ourselves in a different way,” Carlton said. “Instead of just like singing ‘Into the Woods’ songs, we actually get to sing songs that we know and love, and that our parents loved as kids.”
While the spotlight will fall on the performers, stage manager Katerina Sharman explained that the technical crew — which handles the lights, sound, set and costumes — also plays an important role in the production.
Crews started setting things up more than six weeks ago and she said things have picked up as opening night approached.
“For me as the stage manager, my really long days didn’t actually start until like three weeks ago,” Sharman said. “We have to finish building the set first before we can start lighting it and stuff, so there’s a lot to put together before we can actually get down to putting in the queues and making it all come to life.”
Technical Director Yoshi Yonekawa, who has been working with the high school productions for the last 12 years, has been helping the students make this year’s show all it can be. Even with his years of experience, he said “Rock of Ages” will push the limits.
“I’m using 100% of the available electricity in this venue,” Yonekawa said. “I’m dimming the lights when everything starts going — we have to dim the lights when the system starts running just because we are pushing the limits 100%.”
Yonekawa emphasized that he has not done any of the designs because he wants this to be the students’ production.
“I’m not doing any design,” Yonekawa said. “So, it’s getting everything set up and having the kids be able to do it. … The hardest part is getting everything set and getting everything safe and having the kids be able to learn how to use all the equipment.”
The crew and actors believe that the lights and songs of the 1980s will light up a lot more than the stage when “Rock of Ages” opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, and then again at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11. There will be a 1 p.m. matinee and a 7 p.m. show on Saturday, Nov. 12, to close out the run.
Tickets are $10 for general admission or $20 for VIP and available at the high school office or at the door, as long as the show does not sell out.
Senior Alyvia Warren, who is playing Sherrie Christian, is excited about the production and thinks everyone will love the music.
“Surprisingly, I knew a lot of the music,” Warren said. “I guess the best part is definitely just getting to pretend to be at the super awesome rock concert, or dancing with everyone in ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.’ It’s just a great musical.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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