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Stars Rock Broadway headed to Loft Stage

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The rock opera has come a long way since The Who released their landmark album “Tommy” in 1969, jump-starting a franchise that included a film version and Broadway show.

Once considered a novelty, this scruffy stepchild of the old-school musical has stormed into the mainstream with the force of 10,000 electric guitars, every one of them plugged into amps turned up to 11, of course.

This long strange trip is chronicled in “Stars Rock Broadway,” a decade-spanning tribute to famous rock operas, including “Jesus Christ, Superstar,” “Godspell,” “Hair,” “School of Rock,” to the latest blockbuster, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.”

“Stars Rock Broadway” opens March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School.

The Woodbury Community Theatre production features arena rock production values with a cast of over 100 performers who sing and dance their way through classic songs like “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey and “Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Show.”

George May of Woodbury is assistant director as well as performer and occasional roadie.

“It’s going to be loud and pumped,” he said.

The show is directed by vocal coach and stage veteran Lori Sager. In 2016 she founded Aspire Music Academy, a private school designed to provide performance opportunities for kids grades 1-12. She has directed over 30 productions.

Time was, rock and roll divided kids and their elders, but what was once called “the generation gap” is no more. Whole families have signed on to “Stars Rock Broadway.” The cast includes sisters Julia and Anna Reimann of Cottage Grove, their mother Mary and grandfather Tom Vaaler.

If you go:

Stars Rock Broadway runs 7 p.m. March 16-17, 23-24 and 3 p.m. March 18 and 25 at the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School, 4200 Pioneer Dr., Woodbury. Admission is $20. For more information call the box office at 651-200-4610 or visit www.merrillartscenter.org

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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