Rockville 2069 is a futuristic rock musical that is at its heart a love story set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.
Rockville 2069 is a futuristic rock musical that is at its heart a love story set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.
SynopsisRockville 2069 is a futuristic rock musical that is at its heart a love story set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world. Philosophically, it speaks directly to all that the musical festival that took place at Woodstock in 1969 represented.
The story starts with the commemoration and celebration of 100 years since the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival of 1969. During the opening act of this celebration, Earth is destroyed, the result of continuous wars, ecological neglect and massive greed, the very things that the musicians have gathered to oppose, just as the musicians at Woodstock 1969 had done. During this cataclysmic event, one small archipelago of islands, known as Rockville, survives and becomes home to a group of peace-loving hipsters, sound technicians and musicians. They inhabit the only breathable land left on earth which is created by a protective domed force field that shelters them from the frozen wasteland and toxic fog that is left of Earth. In order to generate this vital shield which is created with resonating sound waves that feed into a generator, the musicians must play each day at dusk and dawn, or they all die.
But their harmony and calm does not last long as a group of ragged outsiders wish to take control of their utopia and so a tale of betrayal, treachery and greed unfolds only to be resolved at the very end in an epic "Battle of the Bands", fuelled by loyalty and love. Rockville 2069 is a relevant and contemporary rock musical which charts an exciting new course in musical theatre. It is the creative brainchild of composer Johnny Ray. The libretto and lyrics were written by Bruno Paiola and Johnny Ray.
Rockville 2069 is a fully orchestrated production which results is an emotionally soaring journey of caution, hope, optimism, rebellion and joy.
It’s the year 2069. Greed, conflict, neglect and excess have exhausted the world. Wishing to halt this madness, groups of die-hard musicians have come together to celebrate the centenary of the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival, again in upstate New York where the original took place. The bands, made up of the descendants of the families and musicians who attended the original concert in 1969, represent the three iconic genres that branched out from that legendary musical style known as rock and roll. The three bands, the Drummers, Hippies and Rockers, uphold the true Woodstock ideal that music binds everyone.
A storm is brewing as the various bands arrive for their sound-checks prior to the concert. The MC, Cliff, fusses across the stage, but can’t seem to control anything and is progressively losing his cool. As band members arrive, there is great camaraderie as they reminisce about previous gigs and celebrate their philosophy that music can conquer all. In the midst of this friendly atmosphere appears JohnnyReb, an angry rocker who believes that the only way to change the world is to protest both in music and on the streets against those who have manipulated and plundered. JohnnyReb is either loved or hated. While he has a huge fan base – particularly one fan named Arch who is desperate for JohnnyReb to listen to a riff he has composed – he is criticized by the other muzos for his aggressive approach, especially by a pretty member of the Hippies, Danielle, who needles him directly.
JohnnyReb reacts typically by violently kicking at the instruments on stage. He is captured and taken away kicking, and is prohibited from performing at the concert. Shortly thereafter, a laid-back 1960s-styled sound technician with a large droopy mustache, Stache, saunters in. He has been asked by a close friend who is CEO of a technology company to hand out a free promotional device to the musicians. The gadget, named the iHalo, which has a very bright flashing light, is able to accomplish almost any high-tech task ranging from communication to holographs. Stache proves to be the worst promoter of this new device as he has no idea how the technology works and lacks the language to describe it. He sees a hot young rocker, Velvet, and decides that the device would serve as a great introduction and gives it to her.
The concert begins, amidst increasingly turbulent weather and sounds of excitement all around. First up is Black Habit, a rock band, led by Tyler and Banjovida, followed by Shabahoola, a reggae group led by Ozzimba.
There is great anticipation for the appearance of the Velvetones, a driving rock band. As the Velvetones begin their set, the lights go out. Suddenly we hear loud protest rock music coming from JohnnyReb and his crew who have invaded the stage. The audience goes nuts and security scrambles to arrest him. Velvet can’t contain herself and joins in the music with an insane guitar solo. The chaos, the cheering, the storm and the music all reach a crescendo, at which point a mighty sonic boom erupts and the world as we know it is destroyed. In the midst of this, JohnnyReb happens to swing across the stage and saves Danielle from a falling girder. Thereafter there is silence and darkness and the air is thick with death. Mangled bodies lie everywhere at unnatural angles amidst banners, posters, glow sticks and general detritus. Inexplicably, an eerie glowing dome has appeared and pulsates over a wide area. It drones and throbs to a slow pulse of light, but is not quite closed at the top. Stache rises, dusts himself off and calls out for survivors. In a pile of debris, a familiar beam of light is flashing intensely. It’s Velvet, trapped, but alive with the iHalo flashing, and Stache helps her up. In another pile of debris, JohnnyReb lies entangled with his chief critic, Danielle. JohnnyReb is revived and he and Danielle’s closest friend, Banjovida (who has a crush on her) resuscitate her and she expresses her gratitude and surprise to JohnnyReb for saving her from the falling girder.
One of the older musicians, Papa, (who is Danielle’s father) calms everyone and leads an exodus away from what he calls ground zero. The survivors are terrified and Papa, to lift the group’s spirits, focuses everyone’s attention on the rising sun. As the group comes over a hill, they see the Drummers, who are dancing, singing and celebrating their survival. On the advice of the Drummers, the survivors decide to continue eastwards towards the sun and their ancestral continent. They decide to call their new home, Rockville.
The survivors, essentially now made up of the three bands, decide to take a rest near a river. Papa notices a strange, colourful, glowing rock (later to be used as a podium). It is discovered that through a supernatural process this rock is able to reflect the true intentions of humans as it turns blue when a person is ill-intentioned. All through this, Professor Starr, Nobel Prize winner and eminent scientist is pottering around, fascinated by what is occurring. He suggests the need for a Council is suggested and Papa is elected as the head. While the survivors wish to spend the night, no structures remain, so the group has to stay in tents, which some see as totally primitive. Cliff, the MC from the concert, begins to protest against these rough, uncomfortable conditions and wants to push on. JohnnyReb confronts him and tells him to cool it and they clash. Danielle intervenes and urges JohnnyReb to relax, but he approaches her angrily too, which oddly reveals a moment of intense connection between them. The Rockers remind the travellers that it was the violence of the past that has brought them to this point and how they should take a lesson from it. Everyone has been called to the first Council meeting. Velvet and Stache are on their way to it. Velvet has mastered the iHalo and has discovered more and more applications on the device. She ascertains that these applications allow her to do various things, like determine the weather on Mars and change one’s outfit (in holographic form) in seconds. When Papa and the Councillors gather in the council chamber, Professor Starr informs them that the protective dome is a force field which has trapped an atmosphere within which humans can survive. The challenge is that it weakens at full moon and so he builds a generator which will amplify and channel the sound waves into the dome. In this way they will ensure their survival. He also startles everyone by mentioning that there is a group of individuals on the outside, the TechnoRemnants, who have been jealously eyeing Rockville. Their leader is Ice, the one who provided the iHalos that Stache was handing out at the Festival. Stache and Ice have ambitions to take over Rockville and Stache uses Velvet to pass information about Rockville to Ice. She records the proceedings of the Council meeting, especially the fact that the force field degenerates at full moon and passes it onto Ice.
Ice has in the meanwhile managed to ensure survival of his staff and supporters at the launch of the iHalo, not too far from ground zero, but outside of the dome. Utilising underground shelters for short term survival, he now powers up their newly constructed habitat, in the shape of a pyramid made of huge ice blocks from the icy wasteland, frozen over by a series geographical anomalies. He informs those close to him that he has a plan and an ‘inside man’. Glaze is agitated and is desirous of more urgent action.
Various members of the bands have gathered to make final adjustments to the generator and stand ready to charge it. They are all, given their circumstances, looking a little down. Inexplicably, Stache and Velvet seem to be having some difficulty with the technology as every time they are near the generator, the force field loses power. Banjovida, as usual, is starry-eyed around Danielle. JohnnyReb enters and they have their usual altercation. During a song that Danielle starts to lift spirits, in which everyone is involved, the two seem to get along very well and they seem to have a romantic moment. Banjovida sees this and is crushed. Stache approaches him and insinuates that there is something going on between JohnnyReb and Danielle, which upsets him even more. Starr’s generator is successful in generating an additional force field for the dome, created by resonating sound waves of his generator.
Professor Starr’s role is to ensure the integrity of the dome and to monitor any activities of the TechnoRemnants. While checking his monitors with Stache, he discovers that the TechnoRemnants are increasing their activity. He is concerned about telling Papa, as Papa has a habit of overreaction, and so steps out to make sure that what he thinks is in fact the case. He warns Stache to protect the information, but Stache purposefully allows Cliff to see the data, and, as expected, Cliff in a panic dashes off to inform Papa with Stache and Starr in half-hearted pursuit.
Mama and Papa are talking in a relaxed manner, reflecting on all the beauty and peace of Rockville when Cliff bursts in, out of breath with a wild look in his eyes. He prattles on about the threat from the TechnoRemnants and how it’s vital they send out scouts. He is overwhelmed by paranoia. Starr and Stache arrive shortly thereafter. Papa reprimands Starr for keeping information from the settlement and ignores him, asking Stache for his views. The outcome is that Papa orders Cliff to find three able-bodied islanders to scout the world of the TechnoRemnants so that they can better understand the threat. Stache in the meanwhile has managed to convince Velvet to join him and Ice in their quest to take over Rockville and dominate the only land left on earth that contains breathable air, the new liquid gold. With the deception in place at Rockville, Velvet sends confirmation to Ice.
Ice situated in his ‘inner sanctum’ the apex of the pyramid, rises from his bed as he hears the beep tone of the message from Velvet. His two lovers, Janice and Freeza, wake up as well and Ice reveals all to them and summons a meeting with all the TechnoRemnants to announce the take-over of Rockville. Ozzimba, Conga and Tyler, members of the Drummers and the Rocker Group, are selected as scouts to obtain information about the TechnoRemnants. They are in no mood to save anyone’s bacon. They trudge out into uncharted, hostile landscape in search of the great ice pyramids that the TechnoRemnants have made their home. Tyler, being the dopiest of the three, spots a small plant which he recognizes as a hallucinogen and attempts to have a little nibble before he is stopped by the others. The boys eventually spot the main pyramid in the distance and decide to sneak in.
A large congregation of TechnoRemnants is gathered inside the pyramid at the base of a raised section where the leader, Ice (who is Stache’s corporate friend) is standing. He is aware that the three scouts are present and lets them know of the spy inside Rockville and his plans for the TechnoRemnants to attack the settlement at full moon. As Ice addresses his followers, one of them challenges him momentarily. The tension is relieved when it is agreed that the enemy are the inhabitants of Rockville and their energies are better spent taking over Rockville, and thus the only habitable place left on Earth. Ice sarcastically asks the three if they would like to join the TechnoRemnants and they beat a hasty retreat. When asked the reason for his being so candid about their plans, Ice reveals that the knowledge will instil fear into them and thus Rockville itself, and their fear and dread will get in the way of them continually energising the force field.
Back at Rockville, Cliff jumps to the conclusion that the only traitor (the “inside man”) present has to be JohnnyReb. Papa asks Stache to summon JohnnyReb and he says he’ll call him to meet at the generator. Johnny’s biggest fan, Arch, who is still pursuing him relentlessly, hears that Johnny is on his way to the generator and hopes to get him to listen to his riff. While he waits in the shadows, he witnesses Velvet being bludgeoned by a disguised figure (who he recognizes as Stache). As Velvet lies dying, JohnnyReb enters and runs over to her. While she dies she tries to tell him of Stache’s betrayal, but dies before she does. As JohnnyReb stands over Velvet’s limp body, Papa, Mama, Cliff, Stache and Banjovida (no longer in disguise) arrive. JohnnyReb is suspected of murder and banished to the Forbidden Island. Strangely enough, Danielle, plead with JohnnyReb to fight for his innocence. He goes willingly to the Forbidden Island however. Arch, who had seen the death and knows who is responsible, tries to get everyone to listen to him, but is characteristically ignored.
Danielle attempts to convince her father of JohnnyReb’s innocence, but he dismisses her, thoroughly irritated by her disobedience. Mama senses the dome’s increasing weakness and despairs. Danielle obstinately decides to follow JohnnyReb. She steals a small boat and encounters Arch along the way and they sail together. He tells her everything as they depart, but they are hit by a violent storm that sinks the boat. Fortunately they both survive and encounter JohnnyReb who is mightily surprised that Danielle has come after him. They reveal their love for one another. Arch is also finally listened to. He points out that he saw Banjovida and Stache at the generator with Velvet when she died. JohnnyReb and Danielle indicate that the Councillors must be told, but that they won’t listen to either of them and Arch steps forward and says he’ll give them the message.
On the main island, the three scouts report back to the Elders that the TechnoRemnants are music lovers, just like the inhabitants of Rockville, but that their techno music induces a trance-like state. They reveal that the shape of the pyramids has ancient mystical powers which keeps them stay alive in the frigid climate outside the Rockville dome. They also report that the TechnoRemnants are planning to attack.
Increasingly it is observed that the dome is becoming unstable and Papa has an epiphany and decides to revert back to a moral stance. Instead of being intimidated, Papa says that he will invite the TechnoRemnants into Rockville to see whether they can help energise the dome with their different music. He creates a contest, a battle of the bands, in which the band which is able to generate the most energy into the dome take Rockville as the prize. He sends a message to the TechnoRemnants inviting them to participate in the competition. Papa is convinced that the people of Rockville have the music and the values of peace and love to win the contest and hopefully convert to the TechnoRemnants to their way of life. The dome, however, becomes more and more unstable as they approach full moon, and all appears to be lost.
At this point, Danielle returns from the Forbidden Island and desperately tries to seek pardon for JohnnyReb. Papa, enraged, has her committed to her room for going against his will. Danielle knows that she is right, and is concerned about the change in her father’s attitude to authority, which is totally against his character. In a song, she testifies her love for her father, though he can’t feel it, and expresses her devotion to JohnnyReb. Mama, having reached her tolerance level, gives Papa an earful about the way in which he has changed.
Dramatically, Starr arrives with the message that the TechnoRemnants have accepted the challenge: they will compete in the battle of the bands. Papa gives the go-ahead to raise the force field and allow them in. Each band is given a chance to energise the dome so that it glows brightly, but each band fails to do this completely. It looks as if the TechnoRemnants will take over anyway and stand sneering at the puny Rockvillians.
Danielle then informs everyone that she knows who murdered Velvet and points to Stache who laughs at her. Danielle cleverly gets Banjovida to blurt out that he was just the look out and didn’t murder Velvet, but that Stache did. He then displays his true allegiance, snarls and crosses to the side of the TechnoRemnants. Danielle pleads with Papa to allow JohnnyReb and his crew to perform as they have developed a new form of music that incorporates all of the styles, rock, reggae, pop and techno. Papa is not inclined to agree because he believes JohnnyReb to be a violent man. Danielle points out that JohnnyReb is a changed man and that Papa is no better than JohnnyReb used to be, given the way his own ego has grown. Papa realizes his failing and agrees to let JohnnyReb free to perform. In reality, however, it may be the last chance for Rockville to survive as all other options have failed.
JohnnyReb steps up to play. He starts promisingly, then stops, puts down his guitar and extends the hand of friendship to the TechnoRemnants. Ice senses victory and acts as if he is friendly while secretly belittling JohnnyReb’s softness. JohnnyReb invites Ice to play with him but he refuses. Banjovida sees this and asks JohnnyReb if he can play with him. JohnnyReb welcomes him and when Banjovida steps up, the podium glows, signifying his change of heart. The boys play and the dome gets stronger, but still does not close at the top. Everyone notices the change in the strength of the dome, but are discouraged when JohnnyReb appears to give up, saying that he does not have the last bit of the song to complete it and therefore complete the closing of the dome. Unexpectedly, Arch steps up and starts playing his riff, which is really the last eight bars of JohnnyReb’s song. Arch has a simple message – ‘work together and we can rise as one’. The different factions agree. The dome bursts forth with bright splendour and equilibrium is once again restored in the world. All the opponents of Rockville, including the TechnoRemnants, realise that it is music that binds all of humanity and there is wholesale delight and celebration. Our descendants then stare back in time and insist that we safeguard the world for those who will come after.