“Rock of Ages” at Stockton Civic theaters urges viewers to “Don’t Stop Believin”

Grace Gremel, Staff Writer

“Rock of Ages,” a head-banging, high-energy musical, will be performed at Stockton Civic Theater from August 28 to September 22. The lively musical is full of rock music from the ’80s, including ​Journey, Styx, Night Ranger and White Snake. The musical follows the main characters Drew and Sherry — played by Esther Henderson and Drew Hanby, respectively — on their quest for fame.

“A lot of the songs in this show are the most popular songs from the ’80s, so people of all ages are going to know at least half of the numbers,” Esther Henderson, who plays Sherry Christian, said.

The show’s cast consists of 21 actors and actresses, who have committed the past few months to make the show the best it can be.

“We range in experience,” Director Dennis Beasley said. “[For some,] this is their first show [at Stockton Civic Theater,] and [for others] this is probably their thirty-first show. It’s a great cast.”

Both the cast and director agree that “Rock of Ages” can be enjoyable for anyone who is mature enough for the content and appeals to anyone in high school and on.

“It’s crude, and there is some language,” Beasley said. “[However,] it’s nothing you wouldn’t hear in between classes.”

Additionally, the show’s raw theme and useful lessons make it worthwhile to audience members as well.

“I think the main message that this show conveys is to always go after your dreams, but make sure you don’t lose yourself in the process,” Ashlyn Kelly, who plays a Venus club dancer, said. “I think that’s a very important lesson for high schoolers.”

On top of that, supporting local theatre is helpful for students to see if the performing arts is something that they are interested in pursuing.

“As a high schooler, I wasn’t into musicals or [theater],” Henderson said. “I didn’t get into it until I was in college. I realize that now it’s such a great outlet for being yourself and getting to get out of your life for a little bit, [to] be somebody else.”

The fun doesn’t stop with the stage. Performing and working backstage can be a very enjoyable and beneficial experience for people of all ages. “Rock of Ages” itself has a few student performers as well as some who are part of the backstage crew.

“We have two high schoolers in our show right now, and they are having the time of their lives,” Kelly said.

When a student attends or is part of a musical, they usually have an immersive, unique, entertaining experience. Beyond sheer theatrical entertainment, many critics recognize that when a musical is performed, audience members oftentimes experience emotions that are not felt on a daily basis.

Stockton Civic Theater (SCT) shows provide an incredible opportunity for people of all ages to experience live musical theatre. The upcoming season for SCT will feature the following shows: “Matilda,” “Rock of Ages,” “It’s Only a Play,” “August Osage County” and the musical “Gypsy” to conclude the season in July.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” in the power of local theaters, and go see “Rock of Ages” at Stockton Civic Theater!