Greasers and Poodle Skirts Take the Stage

By Susanna Cheung, Quetorah Dalencourt and Leah Hutchinson ’16

Time ticked back as students put on their take of all-time favorite, Grease, on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1.

“I was pretty excited to be a part of this since it’s such a great experience and I’ve never actually watched Grease before,” said band member, Arianna John ’16. “Regardless of late rehearsals, since I start school at 7:15 and end practice around 8-8:30, it was all worth it.”

The audience was first introduced to our main characters Danny Zuko (Myles Porter ’16) and Sandy Dumbroski (Josephine Mammoliti ’18, Dominique Krol ’15) in the cafeteria scene. Sandy meets the pink Ladies. Sandy, Danny, the Pink Ladies and the Burger Palace Boys sing Summer Nights ,which describes the summer romance between Sandy and Danny.

“It was kind of nerve wracking, but I feel like I did the best I could. It’s a confidence booster,” said Giuseppina Mammoliti ’18. Playing Sandy was special for Mammoliti because her father came home from the army just to see her. He said she’s a “chip off the  block.” He also said she picked up acting from him, the star of Layfayette High School.

This year the actors were accompanied by a live band led by Ms. Melissa Williams. This was the first time in a few years that this happened.

“You guys don’t wanna hear all the horny details anyway,” said Danny as his duet, Summer Nights began and left the audience in awe.

With elegant dresses and fancy suits, the next scene brought eyes to Rydell High’s prom as students showed off their dance moves with “Those Magic Changes” playing in the background. Many of the costumes were borrowed from Laguardia High School of Music and Art .

The audience was then taken to a pajama party hosted by Marty, played by Sema Tascioglu ’15, and her Pink Ladies. At the party, the girls smoked, gossiped, and even pressured Sandy into getting her ears pierced. “Freddy, My Love” was sung as Marty showed off the new gifts and strutted around in the pink kimono she received from her boyfriend. Once Sandy left the room, the girls began to make fun of her clean-cut image with the song “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee.”

After that, it was time to put the spotlight on Danny and his Burger Palace boys. As Kenickie, played by Jedaiah Perrier ’15, bragged about his new car, his boys laughed at how rugged it was. With a few fix-ups during his song, “Greased Lightning,” the old brown car turned into a new bright red vehicle and amazed the crowd.

Ultimately, the cast came together with a few extra dancers and filled up the aisles, singing “We Go Together.”As the curtains closed, audience members were given a 15-minute intermission to chat, stretch and go in the lobby for more snacks.

“It makes me happy seeing my students perform,” said director, Ms. Liz Bommarito. “I know they work really hard and to see their hard work come to fruition makes me very proud of them.”

Within the last few beats of the band’s instrumental, the audience got back into their seats and waited for the start of act two. Once the mood was set in front of Burger Palace, Frenchy, played by choreographer, Jody Wong ’15, started to talk about her time in beauty school. She dropped out but can’t tell her friends so she asks for guidance. In a snap of a finger, a teen angel pops out with his choir and starts singing “Beauty School Dropout” to her.

Later on, the spotlight was put on Danny and Sandy in his car. Pulling into a drive-in movie with your significant other sounds pretty romantic, right? Well, not exactly in Danny’s case. When he asked Sandy to take his ring and tried making moves on her, she pushed him off and even slammed the door on his hands.

“Look, I’m the same girl you were with last summer. Just because you give me your ring doesn’t mean I’m gonna go all the way,” said Sandy as she got out of the car and left Danny with his solo, “Sandy”.

After that, the audience was brought to a party where Rizzo, played by Victoria Lopez ’15, spoke out about her pregnancy scare. She told Kenickie that he’s not the father and rejected all her friends along the way. When people started to judge her, she claimed that she’s better than what they made her out to be in her song, “There Are Worse Things I Can Do”.

In the finale, Danny and Sandy meet once again and their duet, “You’re The One That I Want” starts to play. As the scene ended, they walked off stage and each actor from the musical came back on to many rounds of applauses.

Throughout the show, while the actors brought their best on stage, the crew backstage worked hard to keep everything flowing. Props were disgned and brought to life by Dr. Ernest Pysher and the stage crew. Working backstage is just as important as acting. Costume and prop changes must be done quickly and perfectly. One mistake could ruin it all.

“Dr. Pysher was very inventive with the props,” said Amy Feng ’15. “For example, he used water bottles and basic lights to create headlights for the car.”

The play was choreographed by Jody Wong ’15 and the cast. Wong said choreographing wasn’t easy because everyone wasn’t dance trained, but everyone did a good job.

“The skirts made it hard to dance, but we got through it,” said dancer Daniela Lara ’16.

From lights, to costumes, makeup, and choreography, everything was well done. The live band kept the audience in sync during quick scene changes. Some people were unaware that dean, Mr. Franzese, was supposed to sing “Beauty School Dropout.” At the last minute he came down with strep. An alum and former football player, Reggie Laine,  replaced him.

“The dedication this cast had was amazing. We pulled it together,” said Krol ’15.

Both the cast and crew’s hard work paid off. Grease had the crowd clapping and shouting.

“I’m so proud of my kids. Without wonderful kids you can’t have a wonderful show,” said Ms. Bommarito.

It was truly a night to remember, as it will be the last time for seniors to step on Midwood’s stage. For all the other grades, it’s either the start or continuation of many more talent opportunities.

Rydell High dances the night away at prom.
Rydell High dances the night away at prom.

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