Review: Fremont High School Presents “Grease”
By Mike Gesler
Photos by Mike Gesler
In high schools across the county, the rites of spring include spring sports, the SAT test, proms, and the end of the school year and commencement exercises.
But to budding thespians, spring means one thing; a chance to showcase their talents in the time honored tradition of the high school musical. This spring, Fremont High School under the direction of Shayn Doran is taking the audience back to the 1950s and the days of greasers and hot rod car clubs, poodle skirts and sock hops in their production of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s musical “Grease.”
I was honored to get a sneak peak of this wonderful production before it opened. From the very start, I knew I was in for a treat. “Grease” tells the tale of a group of senior students from Rydell High School. At the heart of the story is...
...the romance between hot-rodding greaser, Danny Zuko, extremely well played by Cameryn Doran, and the innocent new girl, Sandy Dumbrowski, played by Tatum Sartor whose powerful voice gets a chance to show off during the reprise of “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee.”
Over the summer, the two shared a secret romance, but now back in the environment of school, peer-pressure and cliques their secret love becomes a bit more complicated. The backstory is uniquely and well-presented which is all I am going to give away. Well, let’s just say there are some students who got to showcase their multimedia talents as well.
The show opens as the old maid English teacher, Miss Lynch, aptly played by Olivia Mangan, welcomes former cheerleader/yearbook editor Patty Simcox, played by Kaylynn Dobrowolski who brings just the right amount of pep, and class Valedictorian Eugene Florczyk, played by Tomis Reichert-Slater who epitomizes his geeky role, back to Rydell High and the Class of 1959 reunion.
Like a distant memory, the story then fades back to the class of ’59’s start of their senior year. We are introduced to the Pink Ladys; a group of gum-snapping, chain-smoking young ladies. The leader of the group is the rough edge but soft hearted Betty Rizzo, played by Molly Veenstra. Veenstra owns her part, and gives a spot-on performance. Other members of the Pink Ladies include Jan, Marty, and Frenchy played by Dayna DeKryger, Lindsey Horton, and Ainsley Jahr respectively. Each of these ladies gets a chance to shine throughout the show, and believe me, they don’t disappoint.
Counter to the Pink Ladys, are the Burger Palace Boys; a group of too-cool-for-school boys who are into fast cars and fast women. Played by Mateo Rodriguez (Doody), Martyn Towers (Roger), Alex Tillery (Kenickie), and Max Fritz (Sonny). Like the Pink Ladies, each gets a chance to shine throughout the show. Their number “Greased Lightnin’” is well done, and the comedy they add both audibly and visually are good for a few laughs.
The story then follows the rest of the Danny and Sandy’s, the Pink Ladies and the Burger Palace Boys’ senior year with all its teenage angst and drama. Along the way we are introduced to radio deejay Vince Fontaine, played by Josh Powles whose smooth voice and creepiness is almost too perfect, the upcoming rocker Johnny Casino, played by Aiden Powles, and the provocative Cha-Cha Digregorio, played by Nina Sparre.
I would encourage you to go see Fremont High School’s production of “Grease.” These students have put together a fantastic show. The choreography is wonderful. The sets are simple, yet effective. And the music (like anyone doesn’t know the music to “Grease”) will have you singing along. I for one was ready to join them in the “Hand-Jive.”
“Grease” is being performed this Thursday through Saturday, the 28, 29, and 30, on the main stage at the Dogwood Center in Fremont. Show time is 7:30 each night with ticket prices of $10/adult and $5/student. You can order tickets online at dogwoodcenter.org, by phone at 231-924-8885, or the box office (box office hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and two hours prior to an event).
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