The Southern Chester County Weeklies (http://www.southernchestercountyweeklies.com)

Stunning performances makes ‘Grease' a huge success


By Candice Monhollan, Kennett Paper

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dust off the leather jackets and bring out the poodle skirts because “Grease” revived the 1950s at Unionville High School from March 6 through 8.

The musical, originally written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, follows 10 teenagers through their senior year at Rydell High School.

Unionville brought to life the original production, which differs slightly from the well-known movie adaptation from 1978.

Sandy Dumbrowski, played by Julia Madrak, transfers to Rydell High where she meets the Pink Ladies, led by the tough and sarcastic Betty Rizzo, portrayed by Jackie Tremblay. Once the ladies find out Sandy met the leader of the Burger Palace Boys, Danny Zuko, played by Abu Akki, during summer break, they run them into each other.

The story follows the battle between the love Danny and Sandy have for each other as he also tries to maintain his cocky, cool-guy façade he has with the Burger Palace Boys and his second in command, Kenickie, played by Samir Streatfield.

During the same time, the other members of the Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boys go through their ups and downs together or on their own, such as Frenchy (Emily Shiring) dropping out of Rydell to attend beauty school and Roger (Ryan Nilsen) losing his pants to the gang.

After attempting to win Sandy over by joining track, Danny finally quits, but Sandy then becomes the perfect greaser girl with a makeover done by Frenchy and the two reunite.

If you’re only familiar with the movie version, the storyline and music selections may leave you a little bewildered, but the students stick right along with the original musical.

These performers took their roles to heart and may have even studied the movie for inspiration, most notably when it comes to Frenchy, played by Shiring. The high-pitched, squeeky voice leads one to believe completely that she is Didi Conn.

The musicality of the cast, from the voices to the instruments, are spot on and wonderful to listen to. Even the choreography of dance scenes shows the amount of work these students put into it.

The Unionville students casted in the play brought to life each of the characters in more than just looks, but also in accents, humor and talented singing, making this a smash hit.

Cast:

Sandy (Julia Madrak), Danny (Abu Akki), Rizzo (Jackie Tremblay), Jan (Hannah Chidekel), Marty (Tori Francis), Frenchy (Emily Shiring), Kathy (Fiona Weir), Suzie (Annie Belgam), Kenickie (Samir Streatfield), Doody (Nick Esteves), Roger (Ryan Nilsen), Sonny (John Cronin), Jimmy (Justin Bowen), Bobby (Jared Fortunato), Miss Lynch (Catherine Stookey), Eugene Florczyk (Charley Bloomfield), Patty Simcox (Ellan Dunbar), Sally (Rachel Stoltz), Teen Angel (Joe Siehl), Vince Fontaine (Alex Kallis), Johnny Casino (Shawn O’Donnell), Cha-Cha (Carly Rechenberg), Band Singer (Jess Oehler).