The Peregrine Players bring live 80s music to the stage for the spring musical


Luca Roy

Main characters Sherrie and Drew, played by Sophia Nowlen and Sam Truman lead the ensemble while singing “Don’t Stop Believin.”

The Archie Williams Drama Department, better known as the Peregrine Players, has hosted an “after school” annual musical for decades – a musical that anyone at the school can partake in. Previous themes have included Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Into The Woods, and The Wizard of Oz. This spring, the Peregrine Players brought an 80s musical, Rock of Ages, to the stage. 

Inspired by the storyline of the 80s hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, Rock Of Ages is a fun twist on a familiar song. The play follows a small town girl, a city boy, and a midnight train on their journey to save the rock and roll scene in Los Angeles. The show appeals to audiences of all ages, with affordable tickets priced at five dollars for senior citizens and Archie Williams students, and ten dollars for all other attendees.

The drama department puts on four to five shows per year, none of which are musicals. Jasper Thelin, drama director, hosts the extracurricular musical that allows students from outside of drama to participate. This year, a third of the cast were Archie Willliams students who aren’t a part of the company during school hours. 

Rehearsals take place three times a week for five months, the time commitment challenges students already loaded with end of the year extracurriculars and exam prep. Sophomore drama student Julia Conrad’s busy schedule affected her role in the play

“There were a lot of people that [got cast and then] dropped out,” Julia said.

Due to a lower number of cast members, actors had to stretch themselves and their schedules to cover all characters. Actors who would typically have a role in only one cast ended up as characters in both casts.

It was senior drama student Madeleine Barbee’s second time participating in the musical, and the dedication demonstrated by cast members impressed her. 

“I was worried at first that it wasn’t going to work at all… but we ended up making it work and came together, and I couldn’t imagine it being better than it is now,” Madeleine said. 

The two-hour show, which included an intermission, was a roaring success. An on-stage band made up of Archie Williams students Leonello Marcucci, Zeke Cunningham, Leandro Coppola, and 2017 alumni and keyboardist Nick Brown, supported both casts. The live music added depth to the audience experience and helped bring the show to life. 

“The audience has been very much consistent and enjoying and loving the show [and the live music], and I think that’s kind of rare,” Madeleine said. 

The Fringe Festival on May 26 will mark the Peregrine Players’ final event of the year. Hosted entirely by Archie Williams drama students, the event will include 24 student written and directed mini plays. It will also have food, drinks, and a red carpet to celebrate the end of a successful year for the drama program.