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Rock addict bringing ‘outrageous’ show to Gisborne

Rock and roll is back, ready for the stage and looking for actors.

James Packman first saw the musical Rock of Ages in 2017 in Tauranga, knowing nothing about it except it was packed with some of the best ‘80s rock. Packman was hooked.

Now the rock addict is directing the musical for Gisborne audiences.

“As an ‘80s music fan, I had to see the musical based on that alone, I watched it and fell in love with it. It's so outrageous, loud, and with excellent opportunities for character actors. I wanted to do it as soon as that show finished.

“I saw it again in Rotorua a few years ago, and when visiting New York in late 2019, the revival show was on, so I went and saw that version on Broadway.”

Rock of Ages describes itself as the story of a small-town girl, a city boy, and a rock ‘n' roll romance on the Sunset Strip.

When a rock and roll bar is set to be demolished, it's up to wannabe rockers and friends to save the music.

Packman hoped to put on the musical last year, but the rights were not available.

“We went for Grease instead, which was a resounding success for Gisborne Centrestage, a show which over 3000 people watched.”

At the same time, Packman requested to hold Rock of Ages and came back with the rights.

Everywhere it has been performed in New Zealand, it has sold out, with Tauranga having to put on extra shows due to demand.

“We have a fantastic creative team who were all involved in Grease, and I am looking forward to working with them again.

“We have the excellent choreography team of Paul Hawaikirangi and Kylah Ashwell, stars in their own right.

Anyone over 16 can audition with all experience levels welcome, but actors should be able to sing and dance, or commit to spending time with the musical director to get to performance level.

“As the show is based in a Los Angeles bar, all the cast should be able to do American accents and hold it or work towards one. Two of the comedic characters are German so must be able to do the accent confidently (or as close to as possible),” Packman said.

There are roles available for anyone from 16 to their late 60s.

“There is no ideal person for each role. We encourage everyone to give it a go.”

Online applications to audition are now open, with spaces already filling for audition slots.

Visit the Facebook pages of Gisborne Centrestage Theatre Group or Rock of Ages 2022 for more information or text/call 027 536 8096.

There will be an information session on November 15 at Gisborne Centrestage Theatre Group, 260 Childers Road at 7.30pm.

Auditions will be held on December 4 and 5, with rehearsals starting in late January before the final performance in August.

ROCK ‘N' ROLL NEVER DIES: Centrestage is bringing the spectacular Rock of Ages musical to Gisborne next year, and the director is calling for locals to bring their talents to an information night on November 15. Auditions are on December 4 and 5.Picture supplied