Musical “Rock of Ages” is an Electric Tribute to the Eighties



Southern Lehigh’s spring musical Rock of Ages is a hit to the audience.

Strobe lights, hair spray, and bright neon clothing are major highlights of the 1980’s. The 2005 musical “Rock of Ages” pursues topics of young love, ego trips, and rock n’ roll, all built around classic rock songs of the same decade. When “Rock of Ages” was announced as Southern Lehigh High School’s 2023 spring theater production, the community was abuzz.

The musical ran from March 22-26, beginning with a Senior Citizen Night on Wednesday. Some cast and crew were worried the music in the play wouldn’t pertain to some of the senior audience but they were relieved when seniors left the auditorium smiling and singing “We Built This City” by Starship.

I had the opportunity to view the Thursday and Sunday shows, and can say that the actors, actresses, and crew loved the show and knew what they were doing. The hours spent rehearsing and learning stage cues paid off, and the whole thing ran smoothly. 

The stage crew agreed that after a few days they had ironed out any minor kinks in the show.

“We ended up fixing some of the sound. I know [the crew] fixed the death scene, but in all, most of the scenes remained the same throughout the showings,” said freshman Cooper Morgan, who controlled the lights. 

The choreography was really well done, and decently in sync, considering many of the cast didn’t have prior dance classes. Many audience members agreed that the lights added that final bit of 80’s feel. The cast also applauded the set for its unique feel; while it wasn’t complex, it was very fitting for the musical. 

“[My favorite part in the show] is when there’s a whole lot of stuff going on, on stage and the lead singer [of Arsenal], Stacee Jaxx gets knocked down. This happens near the end of Act I; It’s where my character, Drew, gets up on stage and he now finally starts his rock career.” said senior Wyatt Gehman who played Drew Boley.

Another one of the memorable moments in the musical was freshman Carter Searfoss’s line “I’m not gay, I’m just German.” Moreover, the audience also enjoyed when junior Victoria Davis’ character Sherri Christian says “are you ok?” to Stacie Jaxx, and he responds with a snappy “yes, I’m singing.” These lines were adored by many due to their zesty nature or humorous intent; though many cast members preferred these lines because of the audience’s reaction to them.

All in all, the work put into the musical paid off in the eyes of many.  The characters in the musical were easy to relate to; moreover, the voices, dance numbers, and costumes were also eye-catching and engaging. The cast, crew, and adults should be very proud of the end product.

Questions were raised at the beginning of the year regarding the fate of the theater program after high school music teacher Mr. Matthew Wehr stepped down from the role of theater director. Nevertheless, many audience members praised the new director Mr. Jarad Benn for the overcoming of obstacles and successful performance. The response to “Rock of Ages” was overwhelmingly positive after the show’s conclusion on Sunday, March 26th.