With a fifty piece band, twenty five member cast, a whole of lot energy, action and music, ‘Rockville 2069’, showing at Artscape from August 29 to September 7, promises to keep audiences entertained during the tail end of winter. This show aims to take the audience on a journey through the history of music and how it has evolved through the past into the present and even the future. After attending a rehearsal session, MELISSA COHEN sat down with composer and librettist, JOHNNY RAY, and lead actor, JOSEPH CLARK, to find out more about the show and what makes it so unique.
Where did the concept of playing music during an apocalypse come to mind?
Ray: I think that the idea didn’t come first but rather the desire to produce something new. It took me and Bruno Paiola (the co-writer) between nine months to a year to write the script and compose all the music. We wanted to show how music can bring about change and the importance of the Woodstock Festival during my time and how it has influenced the way music has gone and is still going.
How would you describe the show to the average Joe?
Clark: I would say that it’s a fantasy based on truth and how a community can be brought together through music. After the earthquake happens, the last remaining people left are made to survive by making music. I would describe this as a powerful story of hope in the future through music.
What is the role of your character (Papa) in the performance?
Clark: I would describe Papa as being a high-powered Bono of his generation who has an influence in government protests against a world war. Throughout the play, Papa is actually quite a reluctant leader who uses his skills to make decisions regarding the issues that society is protesting against.
Could this story be told without music?
Ray: I think that the lyrics drive the story. It is like the dialogue and the music tell the parts that the characters can no longer speak – the music is like a soundtrack to the life of the characters. I would definitely say that it is a serious show and not a musical comedy like other musicals and that is what makes it unique.
Where does the name ‘Rockville 2069’ come from?
Ray: Well it didn’t actually start off with that name. The idea of the “rock” is representative of the music genre as well as the hot rock or podium which leads the characters to the rock concert in Upstate New York. The story takes place in 2069 so that is where that comes from.
Join Ray and Clark and the rest of the rockers on a time travel adventure through the ups and downs of life and the future told through music.
* To book, visit www.comuputicket.com.