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Heritage Woods rocks out '80s style

Rock of Ages: School Edition arrives at the Port Moody high school next week.
Left to right: Ricardo Gutierrez, Braden Callander-McLellan, Markus Jung, Trevor Walls, Jillian Perkins, Xavier Smith and Emma Watson are leads in Rock of Ages: School Edition, a musical at Heritage Woods secondary school in Port Moody that opens May 4. Missing from photo is Jade Lim as Sherrie Christian.

When the curtain rises at Heritage Woods secondary next week for the Port Moody school’s version of Rock of Ages, the cast expects their parents to be in the crowd — and singing right through the show.

Hits by 1980s rock bands Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi and Whitesnake feature prominently in the production, which is set during the Hollywood rock glam era when mullets, colourful makeup and boom boxes reined.

Taking centre stage as the biggest rocker on the Sunset Strip, Stacee Jaxx, is Grade 12 student Trevor Walls, a Lindbjerg Academy of Performing Arts alumnus who last month was accepted in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and appeared in The Euphio Question at the Vancouver Fringe Festival last fall.

Jaxx, he said, is a full-blown rock star, “at the peak of his success but going through some depression.”

It’s likely he sees the end of his hedonistic time, with the capitalists wanting to tear down the place he performs at, the Bourbon Room, to make way for a new strip mall and make money on development.

Key to its destruction is Hilda Klinemann, portrayed by Jillian Perkins, a Grade 12 student who will study musical theatre at Sheridan College in Ontario in the fall.

“She’s really the antagonist,” Perkins said. “She’s the villain who wants to get rid of this sex, drugs and rock ’n roll lifestyle and tear down their homes.”

Her son, Franz, played by Xavier Smith (Chad in Heritage Woods’ All Shook Up last year) is by her side for the battle but soon falls in love with a nemesis, Anita, a former city planner portrayed by Emma Watson.

Braden Callander-McLellan, Grade 12, said he was excited to be picked to play the narrator role and to lead the audience through the rock-inspired story. “I love the music because ‘80s rock ’n roll was something that my parents listened to and introduced me to it,” he said, adding, “I love to party and I love to tell stories.”

Bourbon Room bar owner Ricardo Gutierrez, 17, also said he likes being part of the school theatre program; last year, he was the father in All Shook Up. “I enjoy the audience’s reactions and seeing people being entertained.”

“There’s lots of singing and comedy to this show,” added Markus Jung, 16, also in Grade 11, “and I think our parents will really love it.” 


Tickets for Rock of Ages: School Edition are $12/$10 via the school (1300 David Ave., Port Moody) by calling 604-461-8679 or at the door on show night; the box office opens at 6:30 p.m. Directed by Shanda Walters and Hayley Perkins, it runs May 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.