The Beaver Dam High School production of “Grease” is set to open Thursday night. The stage production has the same ideas, but differs in a number of ways from the enduring movie classic starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
The story follows the on-again/off-again relationship of bad boy Danny (Jose Pena) and girl-next-door Sandy (Jazlyn Hallett), as they and their friends struggle through their senior year of high school at Rydell High in 1959. Throughout the show, they deal with peer pressure, personal values and love.
The duck-tailed T-Birds and the gum-snapping Pink Ladies in poodle skirts evoke the look and sound of the 1950s in this popular musical. More than 40 BDHS students dance and sing their way through songs such as “Born to Hand Jive” and “You’re the One That I Want.”
“Grease” movie fans will notice some differences from the movie, but the memorable music is all still intact: “Summer Nights” featuring Danny and Sandy, “We Go Together” highlighting the T-Birds and Pink Ladies, “Greased Lightnin’” featuring Kenickie (Wriley Hoffner), in addition to other familiar songs.
Those with a keen ear may recognize Doody’s (Akshay Kalra) solo “Those Magic Changes” from the dance scene in the movie.
BDHS choir director Mark Lefeber said there’s no drag race in the stage production and Kenickie’s ride, Greased Lightning, doesn’t fly off into the sunset, which might disappoint the audience and the cast. He joked that the production crew was relieved they didn’t have to figure out how to do those two things effectively on stage.
Lefeber is enthusiastic about directing his first musical at Beaver Dam High School.
“It’s very exciting to be directing for the BDHS stage. It’s a first for me to direct on a stage this big, with a scene shop, and a fly system,” he said. “It’s been a challenge to adjust, but also a real pleasure. Mostly, it’s great seeing these young adults grow and learn through theater.”