‘Greased lightnin” strikes in Gypsum
Ryan Summerlin March 14, 2013
You remember the movie – maybe you loved it, maybe you hated it, but you couldn’t stop watching.
Now “Grease” is the word at Eagle Valley High School.
Set in the 1950s, “Grease” is really just a musical about the struggles and rebellions that most teenagers experience, but the new high school version isn’t like the movie. Eagle Valley High School drama director Cathy Strickler and music director Pat Sheehy are staging more of a G-rated version of the PG-13 classic.
“The kids have been asking about this show for years,” Sheehy said. “When they came out with the newly edited high school version that was appropriate for all ages, we decided to do it.”
The production required more choreography than musicals in the past, and EVHS dance team members Tania Molinar and Katie Andrews were more than happy to take on the task. Sheehy is excited about the musical talent this year, and encourages community members to come out and bring the whole family.
Who can resist the catchy, upbeat songs of the ’50s that hearken back to the time when rock ‘n roll was new and teens were beginning to create their own culture in America. Falling in love, summer nights, rebelling against parents – all hold allure, not just for teens but for everyone.
Stereotypes on stage
Characters in “Grease” are stereotypes of the cliques that have existed in high schools for six decades: the jock, the cheerleader, the nerd, the outcast and the spinster teacher. Today’s EVHS students are better at transcending these roles, which makes it even more fun for the actors to explore. After all, how could a group of today’s teens resist the chance to relive that astonishing and vibrant era?
Jessica Long, who plays the sarcastic Betty Rizzo, says the challenge of this year’s production was a blast.
“The most challenging part about ‘Grease’ has been trying to develop my character,” Long said. She added that she surprised herself by stepping out as a mean, nasty character.
“It’s been fun to find that side of my acting,” Long continued.
Rizzo’s love interest is Kenickie, played by Steve Siefers, who says the best part about that is the car.
“I get to sing ‘Greased Lightning,’ one of the hallmarks of the movie and most certainly the play as well,” he said.
Dancing has been challenging for Siefers and the rest of the cast, and he credits Molinar for hammering the moves into his memory. He is excited for the opportunity to play the classic smart aleck with attitude.
“He’s the wise guy unrestrained. I’ve had the ability to be whoever I want to be with Kenickie,” Siefers said.
Sweet or mean?
Danny is played by Will Dutmer. “Grease” has been the most challenging production yet for the EVHS musical veteran. Dutmer said the reason why is simple – the dancing and singing combinations. Being compared to John Travolta isn’t easy, either.
“Danny is pretty full of himself, and it’s strange to act like that, but it’s also fun in a weird way,” Dutmer said. “I can’t wait for the audience to see the Thunderbirds perform ‘Greased Lighting’ with Steve (Siefers).”
Tania Molinar plays the beautiful Sandy, and she agreed with her co-stars that this production has been a fun challenge.
“I’m excited for the audience to see how funny some of the characters can be,” she said.
Molinar said that people may think they know “Grease” but the EVHS production will bring some surprises. She noted the cast found that out as they prepared for the production. For instance, Molinar approached the musical thinking she was going to play a sweet and naïve Sandy. Then she realized the character was deeper than that.
“Sandy has a mean streak. I’m so excited to perform and it is going to be a fantastic show,” she said.