Adam Thiessen practically grew up on stage. The Kennewick man first started performing when he was a kid, and he’s been in productions across the state.
But about six years ago, he took a break. The father of two daughters, ages 11 and 8, saw his priorities shift when his girls came along.
Then he took the girls to a Columbia Basin College Summer Showcase production last year. “I told them, ‘I used to do this kind of stuff,’” Thiessen recalled. “They gave me the, ‘Sure, Dad.’”
Soon, he’ll be able to prove it. Thiessen is starring in CBC’s production of Rock of Ages.
The rock musical opens July 13, with performances at 8 p.m. July 13-15 and 20-22 at the school’s outdoor amphitheater.
Thiessen plays Lonny, the narrator, who acts as a bridge for the audience.
His daughters, Jazlyn and Noela, will get to watch him rock out on stage. They also have small parts in the show.
The experience has been special — “one of the most special experiences I’ve had in theater,” Thiessen said.
Audience members can expect a great time, too, he said, likening the show to “a rock concert with your best friends and some of your favorite music of all time.”
We want the audience hooting and hollering. To have us all experience it together — that’s really what it’s about.
Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical, meaning it uses previously released songs — in this case, classic 1980s tunes — to help tell the story.
It centers around a Hollywood bar called The Bourbon Room, and the collection of rockers, performers and businessmen who intersect there.
The show opened on Broadway in 2009 and inspired the 2012 film starring Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough.
Along with Thiessen as Lonny, the CBC version stars Joseph Buriak as The Bourbon Room’s owner, Joshua Lee Fox and Katie Evans as star-crossed lovers and aspiring performers, Bryan Foley as rock star Stacee Jaxx, Claire Dann as a protestor, and John Masuconis and Tyler Zirker as German developers looking to tear down the bar.
The show also stars Laurie Evans, Danielle Gore, Anjuli Herr, Daphne Jackson, Heather Johnson, Greg Levy, Cameron Milton, Ricardo Orta, Jennifer Reed, Kaitlin Richman, Sherry Teachout, Morgan Thompson, Katie Thomas, Kelsey Wehner, Nathan Whitford and Chuck Wojnowski.
Ginny Quinley is directing. She praised the cast, saying the group is working hard and digging deep into the show’s characters.
And the behind-the-scenes team is strong, she said.
Justin Raffa is vocal director, Phil Simpson is instrumental director, Ronn Campbell handled set design, Verna Schwilke handled costumes and Marlie Buriak choreographed the show.
Thiessen said he’s excited — for his daughters to see and take part in Rock of Ages. For audiences to get in on the fun.
“You’re going to be in the audience wanting to sing along,” he said. “That’s exactly what we want — we want the audience hooting and hollering. To have us all experience it together — that’s really what it’s about.”
Tickets are $25 for general admission and $23 for students and seniors. They’re available at tinyurl.com/cbcrockofages, by calling 509-542-5531 or at Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music in Richland.
Food and drinks will be available for sale. The show is rated R for adult language and situations.