Iowa Central brings ‘Grease’ to the stage
Grease is the word this Spring at Iowa Central Community College when the Performing Arts Students bring the much-loved, iconic musical “Grease” to the stage for the second time in twenty years.
“This show is a memory marker for many people. I can remember seeing it for the first time at a drive-in movie theatre, and I think the fact that it hearkens back to such a simpler time is what makes it resonate with audiences,” said Teresa Jackson, director. “I hear the music of ‘Grease’ and I think of summertime, of young love, of friendships and connections. We always, of course, select a musical that plays to the strength of our students — and we’ve done some powerhouse shows in the past several years, but the last dance-driven show we did was probably four years ago — coincidentally also featuring music from the ’50s, ‘All Shook Up.'”
The year is 1959, and Rydell High School’s senior class is in rare form. The too-cool-for-school “Burger Palace Boys” are stealing hub-caps and acting tough, while their gum-snapping, chain-smoking “Pink Ladies” are looking hot in bobby sox and pedal pushers. The 1950s high school dream is about to explode in this rollicking musical that is both a homage to the idealism of the fifties and a satire of high schoolers’ age-old desire to rebellious and proactive.
At the heart of the story is the romance between hot-rodding gangster Danny Zuko and sweet new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski. They had a secret romance in the summer, but now being back in the context of school, peer pressure and cliques make their love a bit more complicated. Will Danny be able to keep his cool-dude status and still make demure Sandy his girl?
“Here’s the thing about ‘Grease’ — it is, quite simply, fun! The dancing is energizing; the tunes are infectious; the characters are iconic. Also, since the story line is familiar to so many people, it’s an easier story to tell,” Jackson said. “Our challenge, then, becomes putting a fresh look on a show that everyone knows, especially when the stage version differs in several instances from the movie — and even from the Grease Liveproduction which premiered on television a few years ago. That is the creative challenge, but we work really hard to put a professional polish on all that we do. The students love our high expectations of them — and they meet our standards year after year after year. This is the only show of the year that combines all facets of our Performing Arts — vocal music, instrumental music, dance and theater. We have a number of athletes who have joined the cast as well, so we have an amazing blend of the Iowa Central campus represented. I love watching the friendships form — and many of them remain lifelong connections.”
Jackson went on to explain that finding ways to showcase every student on stage has been challenging, “We have over 60 cast members, several of whom are experiencing live theatre performance for the first time. But — that’s always been our mission. We want to give as many students as we can the opportunity to experience the magic that is the Iowa Central stage. They are incredible young people — it is the greatest joy working with a group of committed, excited students, and the thrill never grows dim.”
Iowa Central School of Performing Arts will be presenting Grease on March 1 — 3 beginning at 7 p.m. each night in Decker Auditorium, 1 Triton Circle. Tickets for the musical cost $10 for adults and $5 for students. ICCC students are admitted free with their student ID. Tickets are available by calling 574-1081, at the Iowa Central Bookstore on campus, or at the door.
Jackson added, “We also are so blessed to be in a community that values and supports the Arts — I think Fort Dodge is a rare gem in all the talent we have to showcase, and Iowa Central is just one piece of that puzzle. We appreciate the incredible support and hope audiences flock to see these amazingly talented students. Mark your calendars, then, for March 1-3 at 7:00 p.m. in Decker Auditorium.”
When: 7 p.m. on March 1-3
Where: Decker Auditorium at Iowa Central Community College
cost: $10 for adults, $5 for students. Iowa Central students with ID get in free.
Tickets: May be purchased at the Iowa Central bookstore, at the door, or by calling 574-1081.
Rydell Students and Staff:
The Burger Palace Boys:
Danny Zuko: Jonathon Schaffer
Kenickie: Dan Mindermann
Sonny LaTierri: Calvin Clark
Roger: Natthanial Devick
Doody: Nathan Bentz
Additional BP Boy: Jamison
The Pink Ladies:
Jan: Tiffany Thompson
Marty: Andrea Rosendahl
Betty Rizzo: Andra Niles
Frenchie: Zoey Aune
Sandy Dumbrowski: Anna Ingalls
Additional Pink Lady: Amani Gag
Eugene Florczyk: Nick Nordstrom
Eugene’s sidekick: Max Halligan
Johnny Casino: Zeke Ledbetter
Gamblers: Hunter Johnson
The St. Bernadette Babes:
Cha-Cha DiGregorio: Kilei Gunderson
The Student Council:
Miss Lynch: Genevieve Sherman
Hall Monitor: Victoria Sims
Coach: Mitchell Smith
Art Teacher: Jenna Rezavek
Automotive Teacher: Tomas Martinez
Characters outside halls of Rydell High:
Vince Fontaine: Michael Coates
Teen Angel: Jared Lackore