April 17th, 2024

MHMT Rock of Ages sells out in under four hours

By ANNA SMITH Local Journalism Initiative on February 27, 2024.


Medicine Hat Musical Theatre enjoyed previously unseen levels of enthusiasm for its upcoming production of Rock of Ages, which opens Friday.

“We sold out in three hours and 44 minutes,” said producer Rae Wahl. She added that while she had a feeling the show was going to sell out, she was shocked by how quickly it happened for all 11 showings.

“Mamma Mia sold out in about 25 hours, so nothing’s ever sold out this quickly,” said Wahl. “When we did Rock of Ages in 2016, it was really well received. But that had sold out in about two weeks.”

This production has been in the works for about five months, says Wahl, and features a live band, which will be on stage for the duration of the performance.

“We have quite a large cast, as well,” said Wahl. “It’s 30 people, which is larger than most shows that we do in the play house. But when we had auditions, we just had so many great singers that we wanted to take them all.”

The large cast is complimented by an equally large group of non-acting volunteers, including tech and crew, front of house, and bar volunteers, making the number of people working together to make the show possible a grand total of roughly 60 people present for every show out of a love of theatre.

“The excitement, from the cast and crew and the band and the support from anybody who is involved in any way. Fantastic is the right word for it, it’s been absolutely fantastic,” said Wahl.

With opening night so close, that excitement has reached its peak, as they do their final dress rehearsals in anticipation of opening night, preparing final touches and tweaks for both the actors and technical aspects. One of these rehearsals, says Wahl, is strictly for costume work.

“There’s some pretty quick costume changes, where people are actually changing costumes in the wings. They don’t have time to get back to the dressing room. So we’re going to practise again tonight,” said Wahl.

While there have been requests for extra shows to be added, Wahl says the cast and crew would like to rest and spend time with their families after months of dedicated work, and they need to cede the stage to the next production, which opens in May.

“It would be wonderful to be able to, if we could though,” said Wahl. “Like I said, it really is such a great cast, and crew and band and the music is so fantastic. It’s all 80s rock music, and it’s just so much fun. We’ve done something special with the lighting, as well, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.”

Those who have purchased tickets are encouraged to arrive early to ensure choice of seating.

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