HORSHAM Arts Council is getting ready to rock the Wimmera.
The council has announced the cast for its upcoming production of Rock of Ages, set to be staged in May.
Lead roles have both gone to newcomers, with Dylan Shalless set to play the part of Drew, and Rachel Da Graca Costa taking on the role of Sherrie.
Little Shop of Horrors leads Chris Versteegen and Belinda Elliott have also joined the cast as Lonny and the Mayor respectively, while Brady King will play Stacee Jaxx, Jess Wilson will play Justice Charlier and Benji Dixon will play Dennis Dupree.
Eleni Vettos, Simon Dandy, Liam Robertson, Loucas Vettos and Josh Lloyd also have starring roles.
Director Erin Boutcher said the council had been overwhelmed by the number of community members who auditioned for the show.
“The people who came gave everything. We had more than 70 people audition and we got down to a cast of 33,” she said.
“There were so many people who stepped out of the woodwork and out of their comfort zone – there were a lot of people who auditioned for the first time.
“It’s great to have some newcomers in the principal cast, including both the leads which is very exciting.
“Dylan is a Ballarat boy and he loves the show, so he’s going to commit to driving for rehearsals. He’s a very seasoned performer around Ballarat and we’re going to welcome him to the council with open arms.
“Rachel is from Adelaide and has been involved in many shows over there. She played the lead in Thoroughly Modern Millie and has appeared in The Wedding Singer.”
Rock of Ages features a range of classic rock songs by artists such as Journey, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.
It follows small town girl Sherrie Christian who travels to Hollywood to achieve her dreams of becoming a singer. There she meets an aspiring rocker named Drew Boley works as a busboy in a club called the Bourbon Room.
“It’s a really high-energy show with lots of dancing and 80s music – it’s a lot of fun,” Ms Boutcher said.
“The band has already started looking at the material and are amazing. Then we get together in two weeks for our meet and greet, and read through of the show.
“I’ve already started designing the set with Ken Warrick and Deb Boutcher, and Shona Bell-Creasey is thinking about costumes.
“Now we have the cast, we can move forward with all that. I want to do some different things with the stage and give it a rock concert feel.”
Horsham Arts Council’s production of Rock of Ages will open at the Horsham Town Hall on May 9, 2019.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony on December 8.