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All Your 1980's Favorite Jams are in "Rock of Ages", and So is this NKU Senior

There’s this aspiring rock star. He’s working as a busboy. There’s this girl. She’s fresh from Kansas, new in L.A. to seek fame and fortune as an actress. In the meantime, Drew gets Sherrie a job as a waitress.

If you love a love story, jukebox musicals, and Eighties rock (with plenty of glam metal) – dance on over to The Carnegie, where Rock of Ages opens the 2016-2017 theater season Aug. 13-28.

The hits (“Hit Me with your Best Shot”, “Sister Christian”, “We Built This City”, “The Final Countdown”, and many, many more by Styx, Journey, Pat Benatar, Poison, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister…) are the songs of Drew and Sherrie’s lives on their very bumpy road to love.

Northern Kentucky University senior Ellie Chancellor is Sherrie, and she finds plenty of places to connect with her character. “Her sense of humor, her passion for life and love, her naivety in some moments, as well as her compassionate heart, all resonate with me on many levels," Chancellor said. “We both have big dreams and we take chances to make them a reality. We both are hopeless romantics and want to see the good in every person. We're both scared and uncertain of our futures, but we trust the journey and handle the curveballs that are thrown our way as gracefully as we can.

“We both have insecurities that sometimes stunt our growth and our ability to easily move past certain situations, but we are fortunate enough to have met people along the way that push us and continue to support us when we fail to see our potential.”

Even though the ‘80’s were long over when Chancellor was born, she loves the decade, music-wise. “When I was younger I would have dance parties in my room listening to 'The Greatest Hits from the 80's' on my CD player.” 

Her favorite band featured in the show is Journey, “mainly because hearing 'Don't Stop Believin’' instantly takes me back to my 12-year-old self in the eighth grade. My entire class knew every word (and guitar solo) to that song and by the end of the year, it had become our anthem of sorts as we graduated and moved on to the next chapter of our lives.”

An early chapter for Chancellor was competitive gymnastics. When “it got to be a very big commitment at such a young age,” her mom enrolled Chancellor in a theater camp in her hometown, Louisville.

“I just remember how much fun it was and how creative I got to be. My favorite scene was when I was in the background pretending to throw a baseball back and forth with my new friend I had made at the camp," Chancellor said. "I can still sing some of the songs from the show! Whenever I'm at a baseball game I look out into left field and smile because, according to the song, it's very lonely out there and no one ever hits the ball to him.”

Theatre camp led to the Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville and then to NKU. Chancellor will be back on campus and auditioning for Thoroughly Modern Millie while Rock of Ages is still running.

After that? Graduation is in May, 2017 and, “It is my dream to perform on a cruise! Other than that, I'm really not sure. I love L.A. and would move out there, but I also love traveling and would do anything for the opportunity to perform abroad somewhere. My wild dream is to live in Spain and open a breakfast/sandwich cafe.”

Chancellor muses, “I think the most important thing I am learning at NKU is how to be a leader. NKU has given me so many opportunities to get involved on campus." Chancellor is a member of Presidential Ambassadors, Center Stage Players, and is an NKU 2016 Homecoming Princess.

She says she tries to be a role model. “I love seeing people succeed and nothing makes me happier than when I see someone grow into the best versions of themselves, that they've discovered thus far. We are always growing and changing and learning and we will continue to do those things for as long as we are alive."

Best lesson from her years at NKU? “It has been a place where, with the help of many incredible people I have met along the way, I've matured into a strong, confident woman who is ready to take on the world while encouraging others to do the same.”

Rock of Ages, Aug. 13-28. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $28. 859-957-1940 and www.thecarnegie.com.  

Written by Jackie Demaline

Photo provided