McKay students stand up for the arts in lighthearted 80s rock musical

McKay High School’s theater students will perform 80s rock songs during “Rock of Ages,” which opens Friday. (Courtesy/ Tiffany Carstensen)

Relive the glory days of glam rock as the teens at McKay High School perform “Rock of Ages.”

The tunes of Poison, Styx and Pat Benatar will fill the air in showings on Friday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $7 and can be purchased online.

“We wanted to choose a show that would be super fun, that the characters we perhaps more accessible than some of the other more challenging shows that we’ve done so that our students could feel really good about what they’re doing and look really good, but not be super intimidated,” said Tiffany Carstensen, director of theater arts at McKay.

She said playgoers should feel free to sing along to the 80s hits.

Carstensen raided Halloween stores after the holiday to get some of the costumes students will wear on stage Friday, which include throwbacks like denim on denim, leopard print and black chaps.

The show is completely produced by the students, from set design to running the sound boards, Carstensen said.

In the spring, she said students gave feedback on which plays they’d prefer. When “Rock of Ages” came up, Carstensen said the students got really excited.

“It wasn’t a hard sell when it came time for auditions,” she said.

The musical follows two characters as they learn to discover who they are before they can become a couple.

“The second storyline is about some developers that are coming in to try and tear down the Sunset Strip, the birthplace of rock n roll,” Carstensen said.

She said there are activists in the play that are standing up for the arts, which touches on a larger theme outside of the theater.

“The bottom line is kids need to be involved,” she said. “So really showing that we’re standing up for the arts I think is a great, great message.”

McKay High School students dressed in outfits from the 80s for a musical on Friday and Saturday. (Courtesy/ Tiffany Carstensen)

The musical “Rock of Ages” follows the story of people trying to save the Sunset Strip before developers come in to turn it into a strip mall. (Courtesy/ Tiffany Carstensen)

Students will dress in outfits from the 80s for the rock musical. (Courtesy/Tiffany Carstensen)

McKay High School is putting on the musical “Rock of Ages” Jan. 24 and 25. (Courtesy/Tiffany Carstensen)

McKay High School will perform “Rock of Ages” on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25. (Courtesy/ Tiffany Carstensen)

McKay theater students dressed in outfits from the 80s to perform in the musical “Rock of Ages.” (Courtesy/ Tiffany Carstensen)

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250 or [email protected].