WILKES-BARRE — Tom Franko has a love for classic rock music and directing theater.
For Franko, bringing those two loves together, like the 1988 song by Poison, will be “Nothin’ but a Good Time.”
The Shavertown resident will direct a rendition of the Broadway show “Rock of Ages” at the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre. Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Fridays, Sept. 9, 16 and 23; Saturdays, Sept. 10, 17, 24; and at 3 p.m. Sundays Sept. 11, 18 and 25.
This will be the second show he’s directed, the first being “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and he said it’s a flashback to his childhood.
“When I hear like music like this, it’s that type that makes me think back to when I was a kid,” he said. “It gives you a special feeling and I want it to bring that type of memory to other people.”
According to a press release, “Rock of Ages” is a part musical/part rock n’ roll concert that takes audience members back to 1980s Hollywood, where hair spray and Spandex ruled.
The audience will meet Sherrie, a small-town girl turned stripper who hopes to make it big, and Drew, a city boy who plans on being a rock star. At the same time, the audience will watch as protesters fight to keep German developers from turning their beloved Bourbon Room and Sunset Strip into a strip mall.
Songs included in the show will be from the bands Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benetar, Whitesnake, Poison, and REO Speedwagon, to name a few.
Franko said the cast has been hard at work since June memorizing lines and learning dances, even saying they had to take conditioning classes to stay in shape for all of the dancing involved.
He also said the unique thing about the cast is it’s a mixture of younger and older people from all over Luzerne County.
“It’s a mix of old and new, but we have guys from Greater Pittston, Back Mountain, Wilkes-Barre, Larksville and all over the place,” Franko said. “We have a mix of veterans who are in their umpteenth year with the theatre and some stepping into the building for the first time. It’s great to see some fresh faces who are really talented; they’re doing a great job.”
Dallas resident Maureen Hozempa, 31, is one of the veterans of the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, having been involved with it over the last six years.
“I’ve been regularly active there doing one or two shows a year,” she said. “I’ve volunteered, I’m a former board member and I’ve done choreography.”
Hozempa is performing the role of Regina, one of the protesters in the show.
“She’s protesting the reformation of the sunset strip in California and things she’d do is jump off the Golden Gate Bridge to legalize marijuana and things like that,” she said. “I auditioned for this particular role because I know I’m not right for any other leads in the females, but her part is my type. She’s loud, and has a lot of spunk.”
“Rock of Ages” opens Friday, Sept. 9 and Franko said he is looking forward to seeing the cast, and audience, take a trip back in time.
He also hopes those new to the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre will want to come back for more.
“I’m most excited to welcome people into the theatre who most otherwise would not have come to it,” he said. “I want people, who this is their first time in the building, to come in and really say, ‘Wow, that was a good investment of $20,’ and say, ‘This is a good investment of space, I wonder what’s next?’ I’m hoping people who see this will keep coming back.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher.