On Friday night I brought my cousins Grace (12) and Lyla (10) to the Hill-Murray High School’s production of “Grease”. We had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the show. As much as we liked it, the audience was beaming even before the play began. The theater was full of family and friends to support the school kids.
“Grease” is a well loved 70’s movie featuring John Travolta (Danny) and Olivia Newton John (Sandy). In the summer before their senior year of high school Danny and Sandy spend a lot of time together. When she shows up at school, he acts like he doesn’t know her. It is a constant battle between being cool and going for “the one that you (I) want”. Since the show was done at a high school I appreciated the alternate lines that were more appropriate for the students. I recently saw “Legally Blonde” done at a high school and was appalled by the language, provocative gestures and lines that the kids were saying. This was much more “G” rated.
I absolutely loved how the cast was introduced during the opening number. The ensemble came on stage, then the “Pink Ladies” and finally, the lead guys. Kyle Schwartz who played Danny Zuko fully developed his character. He walked the walk and talked the talk. When Jacqueline Schneider, who played Sandy, sang “Hopelessly Devoted to You” I felt her channeling Laura Osnes. Seeing as how Osnes is a big Broadway star, that is a good thing but I also wanted her to come into her own a little more. The audience went wild over “Greased Lightnin”. Some of the kids did not have strong voices but their acting made up for it. Plus, the choreography was wonderful and the entire cast moved together which is very rarely seen in high school shows. To top it all off, the band led by Jason Hansen was stellar.
The set was minimal but functioned well. Yellow, blue and red lights framed the stage which lit up when the kids sang. There was a large stereo piece at the top of the stage which was utilized well because there was a radio playing many times during the show. The costumes were fun. Girls wore poodle skirts and bright colors. The boys wore black leather jackets and jeans. During the Prom scene, the ladies had beautiful dresses on with tutu’s underneath to give a little more oomph. The men wore ties with dress coats. I’ve always had a fantasy to wear Sandy’s outfit at the end of the show: black leather pants, a leather jacket, high heels and curly hair. I mean, what girl wouldn’t want to look like that?
To me, “Grease” is a great show for kids to put on. It has catchy music, is upbeat and an overall good time. Sad to say the show closed this weekend but be on the lookout for upcoming productions at Hill-Murray High School! http://www.hill-murray.org/