Above and below: The cast of Broadway Rocks Again rehearses for the upcoming run at The Westbury Theatre on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton from June 1 to 4. Morinville resident Roderick Barrett is in the foreground. – Submitted Photos
by Stephen Dafoe
Edmonton Musical Theatre (EMT) is gearing up to celebrate its 45th year-end production at the Westbury Theatre on Whyte Avenue with Broadway Rocks Again from June 1 to 4. The show is a revival of EMT’s biggest hit from 16 years ago, Broadway Rocks.
Directed and choreographed by Peter Mills, with music direction by Brad Heintzman, the musical promises to be an extravaganza of beloved hits from ABBA, QUEEN, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Journey, Whitesnake, and other iconic artists.
The storyline revolves around Johnny, who wants to realize his dream of hosting his own live entertainment TV show. That show, The Johnny Platter Show, sees its rating plummet and Johnny and his group face the challenges of keeping the show alive.
With his dedicated producer, Karen, Johnny attempts various ideas to inject life into the program, only to face setbacks orchestrated by TV Executive Harry. During all of this, three love relationships unfold within the cast and crew: Charisse and Lance, two talented singers on the show; Judy and Mikey, the production assistants; and Karen, who secretly carries a longing for Johnny.
Twenty-six-year-old Morinville resident Roderick Barrett is one of 32 people in the show. He plays one of the leading roles, The Johnny Platter Show singer, Lance.
“I get to play this character who is unashamedly in love with the female singer of the show. That is a brand new thing for me because he is extremely outgoing, very confident, and I am only those things with people I am comfortable with,” Barrett said with a chuckle.
Barrett started a path in music in the third grade. Today, besides playing guitar and being a singer, Barrett plays drums and bass.
“I’ve been a musician since I was 12 years old, but I’ve only been more heavily dedicated to it since last August,” Barrett said, noting that last summer’s transition to a deeper involvement in music started when Barrett booked a show at a bar on an evening he’d come to participate in karaoke. That show gave Barrett a taste of live performance and led him to Broadway Rocks Again.
“I have never been in musical theatre. It’s definitely stepped me out of my comfort zone. I’ve been in music for quite some time, but I’ve only recently been doing things with music in public,” Barrett said, noting he learned about the production on social media. “There were some repeated Facebook ads that kept popping up. The first time, I thought, ‘Oh, that looks interesting.’ Then it popped up again, and [I thought] I must have been searching for something. This was all within about two days, and I thought if it keeps popping up for me, I’ll look into it.”
The ad did continue to appear, so Barrett sent EMT a two-minute video audition in the eleventh hour of audition deadlines and 12 hours later got a callback.
Rehearsals for the production started once per week in January and then, in late February, ramped up to three times per week for choral and choreography.
“Throughout my life, I’ve been in two hip-hop dance lessons and two ballroom dance lessons,” Barrett said of the dancing requirements of the show. “I don’t have a lot of experience. The first little while they [rehearsals] were very daunting and overwhelming for me—trying to maintain the choreography while singing.”
With the cast meeting three times per week for three or four hours, additional time on weekends, and the actor/singer spending a little extra time on solo material, it has come along.
Organizers promise Broadway Rocks Again is filled with music, dance, and heartfelt performances. Audiences can expect to musically go back through the decades with the tunes of ABBA, QUEEN, Elvis Presley, and more.
The show runs for approximately 135 minutes. Tickets for Broadway Rocks Again are priced at $30, including a $3 fee. Attendees should know that the performance includes flashing lights and a fog machine.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.edmontonmusicaltheatre.com or call the box office at (555) 123-4567.