It’s time for the Greasers and the Pink Ladies to hit the stage for some ’50s fun as Delta High School presents its first production of the musical “Grease.”
A cast of 34 students including dancers and chorus members will offer a family-friendly version of the gang from Rydell High School on Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 26, at 2 p.m. in the school auditorium at 605 Taylor St.
“I thought it would be an exciting musical for them to do,” said Jessica Hagerty, the musical’s director and the choir director for Delta’s high school and middle school. “It’s a fun show, popular music, and fun for the kids.”
Unlike the original Broadway production, all of the bad language and adult references have been removed, making the show appropriate for all ages, Hagerty said.
It’s the story of tough-guy Danny and the more innocent Sandy, 1950s high school students who enjoy a summer romance before their senior year. Once school begins, however, pressure from Danny’s greaser buddies, including Kenickie and Doody, and the cliquish Pink Ladies led by Betty Rizzo, complicate the relationship.
The approximately two-hour production includes about 20 students who are veterans of other school musicals, and elaborate dance sequences.
Ethan Jessing, who is cast as Danny, has been involved in school musicals since junior high school. Hagerty said he was selected for “great acting ability, a great voice, and his stage presence.” She cast Sydney Schermond as Sandy, her first lead role, because “she’s kind of a natural in the part. She fit it very well.”
Other cast members include Bowen Green as Kenickie, Mary Miller as Rizzo, Falcon Hassenzahl as Doody, Sara Sintobin as Frenchy, Libbey Lantz as Marty, Abagail Bowerman as Cha-Cha, Eliot Schneider as Vince Fontaine, and Russell McWatters as Teen Angel.
Costumes are courtesy of 3B Production in Waterville. Parents of students constructed the sets.
The production is being financed through fundraisers, patron ads in the program book, and ticket sales. All proceeds will benefit the high school’s 2018 musical production.
Hagerty, who also directed last school year’s production of “Guys and Dolls,” said directing “Grease” has been challenging and rewarding.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it for the kids. I have a great time doing it,” she said. “It’s just a popular show, and I wanted to do something that was well-known and and liked by the audience.”
Assistant Director Walt Steele minored in theater at Ohio State University and acted in four stage productions there. He said doing work behind the scenes for the first time has given him newfound respect for the director and crew, “and the patience they have shown for us actors.”
And while it’s lots of work, “it’s been so fun interacting with these kids,” he said. “To see where they were (in rehearsal) to where they are now – it’s an amazing feeling. I’m excited for the show to run.”
Hagerty said the cast has put in long hours since early January. “They will definitely be ready for an audience this weekend,” she said.
Reserved tickets are $8 and available in the high school box office March 23 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and March 24-26 one hour prior to showtime.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.