PLAY REVIEW: Greenville High School brings a slice of the 1950s to life

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 11:38 am on Thursday, November 17, 2011

Greenville High School’s presentation of “Grease” features 40 cast members, 200 costumes and “a lot of singing and dancing.”

Though fashions and style change over the years, the problems faced by teens haven’t really changed that much. A group of Greenville High School teens give us a glimpse of what life was like only a few generations ago with their presentation of “Grease.”
The show involves about 40 cast members with 200 costumes.
“There is definitely a lot of singing and dancing,” said Director Ruth Hansen. “It is a big production for our costumers, our choreographers and our stage crew.”
The entertainment actually begins 30 minutes before the curtain rises, with radio station WAXX playing tunes from the 1950s as a pre-quel to the performance.
The story begins with a class reunion. Local celebrities play the parts of the grown-up teens. The costumes and scenic backdrop curtain are also a hint to the extreme attention given to detail in scenery, props, make-up and costumes.
The alumni then have a flashback and return to the first day of school, their senior year.
The opening number, “Summer Nights,” uses most of the cast on stage, singing and dancing, while telling the story of how wholesome, naïve transfer student Sandy Dumbrowski had a summer romance with Danny Zuko.
Danny’s version, told to his friends, is a little bit different. Unexpectedly, the two are reunited in the cafeteria of Rydell High.
“We have toned it down a little to make it more appropriate for the kids to perform and to make it a family show,” said Hansen.
In the lead roles, Ana Holmes and Dylan Bernth play Sandy and Danny, and solidly carry the tunes, both with solo parts and duets. Other strong performances include Jonah Hitchings as Doody, Sam Moss as Kenickie, Emily Smith as Marty and Lizzy VanderLaan as Betty Rizzo.
“We have a lot of strong female actresses, including Emily and Lizzy, who played different kinds of characters than what they normal do. A lot of our actors and actresses really brought personality to their roles,” said Hansen.
Sandy’s adjustment  to her new school means trying to fit in and she wavers between befriending the Pink Ladies, played by Smith, VanderLaan and seasoned actress Taylor Hedrick, or with Patty, played perkily by Meagan Draper, and the rest of the cheer team.
Danny, too, struggles with his image. Can he remain one of the Greasers and still go steady with Sandy? Or should he become one of the jocks?
Later, at the drive-in theater, Sandy says, “It was so much easier when it was just the two of us.
“Grease” is a slice of life from the 1950s and you won’t be disappointed.


If you go…
What: “Grease” by Greenville High School.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Where: Greenville High School Performing Arts Center.
Tickets: $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. They are available at Hansen’s Music House, at the Performing Arts Center box office or at the door.
Sandy, Ana Holmes; Frenchy, Esha Howe; Vince Fontaine, Levi Kidder; Miss Lynch, Katherine Hagadus; Jan, Taylor Hedrick; Marty, Emily Smith; Betty Rizzo, Lizzy VanderLaan; Pink Lady Pledges/Dream Gals, Alisha Gatchel, AJ Stephens and Brianna Van Houten; Patty, Meagan Draper; Cheer Team/Dream Gals, Miku Aniya, Amber Brashier-Fromage, Anna Dutmers, Summer Eipper, Taylor Kern, Mary Losee, Megan Robinson, Anna Stanford, Kira Ward and Erin Williams; Doody, Jonah Hitchings; Roger, Charles Moon; Kenickie, Sam Moss; Johnny Casino, Skye Hayes; Greasers, Triston Arnsby, Ben Eyer, Levi Kidder, Scott Scripter and Dale Talmage; Jocks, Jeramie Croad, Kirk Dickson, Caleb Kellogg and Philip Rewa; Sonny, Sam Prosser; Danny, Dylan Bernth; Eugene, Tyler DeGood; Coach, Tristen Wheeler; Radio Girl Singer, Emily Smith; Cha-Cha, Taylor Kern; Teen Angel, Wilson Nichols; Voice of Movie; Female, Meagan Draper; Voice of Movie Evil Doctor, Dale Talmage; Voice of Movie Hero, Matt Wilhelm
Alumni chorus
Mr. Eugene Florczyk, Jeff Ayres; Mrs. Eugene Florczyk, Susan Ayres; Cheerleader, Robin Bremby; Rizzo, Diane Brissette; Frenchy, Jamee Gunn; Miss Lynch, Char Lothian; Marty, LaRissa Paras; Kenickie, Wilson Nichols; Sandy Dumbrowski, Holly Stephenson; Mr. Arthur Honeywell, Joel Van Houten; Mrs. Patty Simcox Honeywell, Linda Van Houten
Stage Manager, Matt Wilhelm; Assistant Stage Managers, Mercedes Gonzales and Jacky Hilliker; Scenic, Kerri Bauer, Anteneah Bremby, Aaron Fare, Kelsey Fonger, Deserai Kent, Ashley Laymon, Lorin McDonald, Devin Menzel, Emily Mulder, Brittany Rhodes, Kelsea Silvernail, Amy Staten, Chris Stoutjesdyk, Alexis Tiffany, Audra Tyler and Kaitlyn Wietsma; Sound, Brittany Bassett and Andrew Geer; Lights, Jake Barnhill, Victoria Dennis, Jacqueline Hill, Samantha Horton, Mike Nielsen and Greg Pribble; Props, Hannah Graham and TJ Lovell; Costume, Justin Barr, Emily Hyde, Briana Martinez and Theresa Moore; Makeup, Taylor Bergeron, Hannah Clifford, Courtney Colthurst, Sarah Headley and Tiffany Miller ; Dance Captains, Amber Brashier-Fromage and Mary Losee
Pit Combo
Bass, Kyle Yost; Guitar, Kevin Yost; Drums, Carl Katterjohn; Sax, Keith Hudson and Melinda Kirby; Keyboard, Kayle Clements
Adult Staff
Stage Director, Ruth Hansen; Vocal Director, Joel Van Houten; Assistant to Vocal Director, Wilson Nichols; Choreographer, Jim Mason; Pit Director/Rehearsal Pianist, Kayle Clements; Technical Director/Set Design, Chris Chapman; Costumer, Sandy Fonger; Makeup Designer, Linda Custer; Production Coordinator, Cheryl Willard
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