Relive the 80s with Culpeper County High School’s Rock of Ages

Ivan Arzola, from left, Micah Leuterio and Chad McKnight formulate a plan on how to save their club, the Bourbon, in Culpeper County High School’s production of “Rock of Ages.”

Culpeper County High School’s production of “Rock of Ages” is looking to take the audience back to a “sexier time – the Reagan era.”

Based on the the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages,” though much tamer suggests CCHS fine arts teacher Maxi Mitchell, the play documents the tumultuous relationship between aspiring rock star Drew Boley (Micah Leuterio) and recently arrived want-to-be actress Sherrie Christian (Alexa Hinton).

Narrated by Lonnie Barnett (Chad McKnight), the musical originates in the iconic Bourbon Room in the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles and tells a torrid tale of 80s love, hair metal, dreams and more hair metal.

Taking a medley of 80s classics from Poison, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and more, the young cast admitted that some of the music was familiar but other songs weren’t as well known.

“We were both born in 2000,” McKnight said with a sly smile.

Being that they were just a twinkle in their parents’ eyes in the time frame the musical is produced, McKnight and Leuterio both relied on their directors for help.

Choir director Doray Walker uses a not-so 80s method to help conduct the live band performing the hair-metal classics that pepper the musical – computers.

Three laptops sit at the front of the stage, helping keep the cast on task and in tune.

“It’s been pretty challenging,” Walker said. “We’ve worked really hard on the music and the choreography.”

Chris Brown, a CCHS graduate, plays lead guitar for the house band and a student piano player was incorporated as well.

McKnight said the musical is one of his family’s favorites and he was excited to perform the classic songs.
“You don’t get to relive the crazy 80s everyday,” he said with a laugh.

His favorite song in the musical? “Can’t fight this feeling,” by Boston.

With the live band playing in the background, Leuterio said it’s been a challenge picking up the right timing.

“I just don’t want to throw anything off,” he said.

The band doesn’t stop playing hardly at all throughout the musical, Mitchell said, who is a self-processed 80s fan.

She said that the school’s staff has been extremely willing to lend their expertise as well, stopping in to listen to practice and relive their 80s experiences through the casts performance.

“It’s been a lot of fun and it’s a comedy, which is where my home is,” Mitchell said. “The kids have been great.”

CCHS presents “Rock of Ages” Feb. 9, 10 and 11th at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. On opening night, attendees will get a $1 off if they dress in their best 80s attire.

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