Mia Mellerick-O’Reilly (Sherrie) ,Hubert Smatoza (Lonny), Kachi Edobor (Drew), Eimear Glennon Young (Sherrie).

‘Rock of Agez’ set to rock Breifne

The cast and team behind the Breifne College production of Broadway hit musical ‘Rock of Agez’ are rehearsing hard ahead of taking to the stage later this week.

After months of work behind the scenes, each of the three shows - Thursday and Friday night, November 23-25, plus one matinee on Wednesday - are nearly sold-out.

It is a remarkable feat for the local secondary school and its students, for whom this will be their first ever full musical performance.

Set in 1987 at West Hollywood’s fabled Bourbon Room run by chilled-out former rock impresario Dennis Dupree, and tended to by Dennis’s mischievous assistant Lonny (Hubert Smatoza), Rock of Agez follows the story of bright-eyed young hopeful Sherrie Christian (Mia Mellerick-O’Reilly/ Eimear Glennon Young), a small-town girl who wants to make it as an actress when she bumps into Drew (Kachi Edobor), the Bourbon Room busboy with dreams of rock and roll stardom.

Romance seems certain until the Mayor of West Hollywood, persuaded by a couple of scheming German real estate developers, plans to demolish the Bourbon Room and the entire gritty Sunset Strip.

Rock of Agez is being directed by Paschal Lyons (Cavan Musical Society, Hacklers drama group etc), produced by Peter O’Hanlon, with music teacher Janet Treanor assisted by Maria Battachelli as musical director, and also current musical director to Cavan’s Christmas pantomime.

Dance choreography meanwhile is being overseen by Aysha Treanor, a former student at Breifne College and founder of Fusion Dance School.

Andrea Reilly, TY Co-ordinator at Breifne College, says she is hugely proud of how far the class of 97 students have come since arriving into auditions at the start of the school year.

Five Fifth Year students are also involved in the Rock of Agez production.

“Between 75 and 80 are involved in the performance. We scheduled four hours every Tuesday for musical rehearsal. All 97 were involved in those four hours, either singing and dancing, or a group of maybe 15 to 20 lads who were instead involved in art or construction, they built and designed the set being used. Everyone was involved. It’s an incredible joint effort.”

She says the school’s music teacher Janet Treanor always wanted to host a musical at the school, and this year, with four classes to pick from in TY, it presented an opportune time to do it.

“She seen the opportunity and came to me to see if we could work it into the timetable. The day they came into for TY induction, they had rehearsals. It kicked off straight away.”

Such are the levels of dedication that students even attended rehearsals on three days over the recent mid term.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” enthuses Ms Reilly.

“What’s great is to see how well they’ve bonded as a school year through this process. And then we have a past student Aysha Treanor as our dance choreographer, which is really lovely. She always did dancing for our Christmas shows, and I actually taught her myself, so it’s been brilliant to have that connection as well.”

Mr O’Hanlon states that he and Mr Lyons as director have performed in many musical productions in the past.

“We’ve shared the stage for the last 30 years, so we have a history, and we work very well together.

A lot of hard work has gone into bringing this all together, behind the scenes, at home. The kids themselves have been brilliant.”

None had prior stage experience before this and Mr O’Hanlon says it’s been brilliant to see each of them grow into their respective roles.

“The reward for us a production team is to see that happen, gel as a team, as a unit, and for them to experience... pushing themselves and experiencing something totally new to them.”

Rock of Agez runs for three nights, with a preview matinee on Wednesday with 270 national school kids due to see the show.

Ticket information are available on www.breifnecollege.ie as well as the school app, Unique Schools.