“Grease,” a community effort

Hannah Crowley/ Courtesy The cast of “Grease” works on the choreography for “The Hand Jive.”

Ton Winter
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WHEATLAND  – The sounds of dancing feet and musical revelry may be heard by passersby of the Wheatland High School auditorium these evenings. The Platte County Player’s production of “Grease the Musical” has been in rehearsals since May and are gearing up for the performances to be held next week.
The cast has a wide range of ages including 12-year-old Nicole Biggs and Dance Wyoming owner Linda Fabian who is well...more experienced. They have been rehearsing lines, choreography and music in the evenings Monday through Friday and several volunteers have come in on the weekends to help build and paint the set.
“I attended my first ever theatre work call this weekend. Two full days of painting, moving and building the set for “Grease.” I’m sore and tired and I can’t wait to help out again,” said Brandy Crowley with excitement. Almost her entire family is involved in some way with the show, her husband Michael is the Music Director, daughter Hannah is playing Frenchie, Elizabeth is the stage manager and youngest Becca helps out wherever she is needed.
Cassie Baez is a mother of three and is playing the part of Jan. She spent last weekend painting the set while wearing a baby carrier holding her youngest son.  
“I haven’t done theatre in a long time and I’ve always wanted to be a pink lady,” Baez gave as her reason for getting involved.
The musical was first written and performed in 1971 in Chicago. The script was based on Jim Jacob’s experience at William Taft High School in Chicago. Jacobs, along with Warren Casey, wrote the script, lyrics and music. It’s the story of ten teenagers in the ‘50s, navigating the challenges of peer pressure, love and identity. It eventually made its way to Broadway winning seven Tony awards in 1972.
The movie starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta came out in 1978. It was the biggest box office hit of 1978, and its soundtrack was the second-best selling album in the United States that year. While it is very similar to the stage show, the movie created and removed some scenes and songs from the original musical – including changing the part of Sandy to be from Australia because of Newton-John being cast. Platte County’s production will be using the stage version with a couple of the movie’s songs added in to create a loveable mishmash of favorites from both.  
Madison Stafford, a senior at WHS, is playing the part of Sandy in her first ever theatrical endeavor.
“It looked like a good opportunity, and summer is the only time I am able to try something like this,” explained Stafford as to why she wanted to be involved. “I’m very busy during the school year with academics, cheerleading and being a soccer coach for Parks and Rec.”
A live band conducted by WHS music teacher and band director, Evan Bradley, will add the energy and beat that no recording could ever compare to while his wife, Stephanie, is sure to wow audiences in the role of Marty. Dixie Mount is scouring the costume storage and closets from around town to outfit the cast in 1950s nostalgic fashion.
The community effort in getting this show up and running has been astronomical, proving that it takes a lot more than performers to produce a musical of this scale. Performances will be held at the WHS auditorium July 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. with a matinee performance July 13 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children.

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