Pilgrim Players rock night away

Posted 11/16/22

“Come on, feel the noise!” belts Ben Passarelli. “I want to know what love is” swoons Princess Johnson. “I’m wanted dead or alive” wails Jessica …

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Pilgrim Players rock night away


“Come on, feel the noise!” belts Ben Passarelli. “I want to know what love is” swoons Princess Johnson. “I’m wanted dead or alive” wails Jessica Taul.

Passarelli, Johnson and Taul are performing the hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages with fellow students at Pilgrim High School under the direction of Richard Dennigham. Choreographer Mrs. Jenna A Tremblay-Reilly and musical directors Mrs. Laura Jenkins and Ms. Elena Robson accompany Denningham with the production  The performances will be held Nov. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door and are $12 for adults and $7 for students, seniors and children.

 Taul, a senior, brings an aggressive energy as the character Stacee Jaxx when she sings “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi. Taul says it was her favorite scene because “it was my scene”.

Expressing optimism and hope in as she sings “Here I go again” Johnson, a senior, delivers an emotional performance as the character Sherrie Christian.  The actress proclaims she isn’t like her character at all but admires her for her ability “to stick up her herself. She’s not afraid to walk out on anyone who hurts her”.

Portraying the character Drew Boley, senior Passarelli provides an energetic performance as he sings “Come on feel the noise” by Quiet Riot. Passarelli spoke that the most challenging part of his performance was “taking all the elements (singing, dancing and acting) and making it as seamless as possible”.

Rock of Ages was written by Chris D’Arienzo and debuted on Broadway in 2009. Set in 1987, the musical tells the story of Drew Boley and Sherrie Christian as they pursue their dreams working at the Bourbon Room on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Drew has dreams of becoming a rock star while Sherrie aspires to become an actress. When a famous rocker named Stacee Jaxx performs at the Bourbon Room and causes a misunderstanding between Drew and Sherrie tensions erupt. Featuring songs from Bon Jovi, Styx, Journey, and Pat Benatar Rock of Ages is a captivating story with a convulsive sound.

When asked why he chose Rock of Ages as a musical for this fall’s production, Richard Denningham said he “wanted to do something different than the traditional Broadway musical”. He found that the coming-of-age theme resonated with the experiences that students are dealing with as they move forward in life. “Every kid feels like life is changing. I’m becoming a real adult now” he said. “You have to put yourself out there and take a chance” he added with encouragement. As the musical director for Pilgrim High School since 2006,  Denningham reflected that his favorite part of the job is teaching kids “to be responsible for your work and other peoples’ work. These skills are transferable to the real world”.

Inspired by Dennigham’s skills as a musical director, 10th grade student Kamryn Gavin decided to join the Pilgrim Players.  Gavin (who plays the character Dennis Dupree) has enjoyed the social environment of the Pilgrim Players and he wants to continue to act in the future.

Rock of Ages. Performances will be held Nov 18 and 19 at 7 p.m. and Nov 20 at 2 p.m.

Pilgrim, play, performance