News Column

Get 'Greased' at local production of beloved musical

October 24, 2013


Oct. 24--Chills will be multiplyin' at Gila Ridge High School when the curtain goes up Oct. 31 on a trip back to the '50s for a rollicking dose of musical magic only "Grease" can deliver.

Sandy and Danny will be falling in love all over again -- three nights in a row, actually -- as they are joined on-stage by a cast of 53 young performers singing and dancing their hearts out.

The school's drama teacher says theater lovers are going to love how today's youngsters bring the classic story of "Grease" so perfectly to life.

"The cast is amazing. You won't believe the quality of their acting, singing and dancing," Mary Plante said. "They've impressed me every step of the way with their hard work and professionalism, and I couldn't be more proud of them."

She added that the story line of the musical translates perfectly for performers born decades after "Grease" originally debuted.

"Grease is about kids who hide their big hearts under a facade of coolness. It's also about the worries we all faced in high school: Struggling academically, creating an identity, fitting in with friends, and finding a balance between having fun now and building a future for later," the teacher said. "Every teen can relate to those issues."

"Grease" opens Thursday, Oct. 31, and runs Friday and Saturday. All show times are 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $5 in advance at $7 at the door. Tickets may be purchased now from any cast member or at the Gila Ridge High School Bookstore.

Gila Ridge Performing Arts Center is located west of Arizona Western College at 7150 E. 24th St.

Plante said "Grease" was a clear choice for a musical production that is fun and shares that fun with lots of performers -- not just a few stars.

"I wanted to do a show the kids would love. 'Grease' is a name everybody gets excited about. As soon as you say the title, the kids start singing the songs, and there are students in the show who have dreamed of putting it on for years," she said. "Also, it's great for high school because it has a large cast with plenty of female roles, and it's a show about high schoolers. The cast is ensemble, meaning there are a lot of great parts -- the biggest roles don't overwhelm the smaller ones. The kids get to work together without one or two being the only 'stars.'"

But theater isn't just about having fun. For Plante, the performing arts are also about teaching very valuable lessons.

"I hope the kids take from this experience the value of hard work and dedication when it comes to the arts. They're learning, as our performance deadline approaches, how rewarding it is to show up every day and work hard," she said. "They've produced something they can really be proud of, and I hope they take pride in their accomplishment and go on to be leaders in more theatre projects. When the whole cast comes together and focuses, we make magic!"


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