The T-Birds perform a routine during a recent dress rehearsal for the Lincoln Theatre Guild’s production of “Grease,” which premieres this Friday and is slated to run over the next two weekends.
A beauty school dropout, a cheerleader, a few Pink Ladies and some T-Birds will tell a 1950s-set story of 10 high school students growing up and all that entails this month at the Cultural Center.
The Lincoln Theatre Guild is performing their version of the Broadway production, and later-film adaptation, “Grease,” the last two weekends of the month.
The story centers around a group of friends who deal with issues from love and teenage pregnancy, to violence and trying to fit in.
Sandy Dumbrowski, the play’s leading lady portrayed by West Lincoln High student Charity Bishop, 15, meets Danny Zuko, played by Christian Eidson, 19, during their summer vacation, where they fall in love. The two are later reunited by unlikely chance as Sandy’s family moves to town and she enrolls at Rydell High – Danny’s school.
The two start to think their summer romance may have been better left as that, and are an unlikely match – Sandy, a straight-laced, “goody-goody” as Bishop describes, and Danny, a member of a school gang the T-Birds. The teens dance their way through the story, singing about love, friendship and Grease Lightning.
The Theatre Guild tried to stay fairly close to the film, but did make a few changes, Musical Director Barrie Howard told the Times-News Monday.
“Expect a lot of surprises and laughs, and hopefully some audience participation,” Howard promised. “People who are no longer teenagers will sit back and nod their heads, remembering the times – even if they don’t really know the show.”
Play Director Diane Turbyfill grew up watching “Grease,” and expects a feeling of nostalgia to be prevalent for the audience as they remember the 50s.
Though the cast is full of musical rookies who haven’t performed in this type of production before, there are some seasoned veterans peppered throughout as well.
Thirty-six-year-old Jennifer White has been acting most of her life. White plays Betty Rizzo, leader of the Pink Ladies – a popular clique on campus. Rizzo is Sandy’s on-stage rival – never quite seeing eye-to-eye on boys, etiquette or anything else. The sarcastic and rough-around-the-edges teen becomes pregnant during the play, a controversial subject during the time of its debut in the early 1970s.
White was typecast for the part, meaning she is so similar to the character she auditioned for, that it seemed as if the character was written for her, she said. Rizzo’s attitude and spunk drew White toward auditioning for the part; she was a character she could relate to.
Bishop didn’t fall into place with her character so easily at first. The high school girl playing a high school girl said she was originally interested in trying out for the Rizzo role. After reading over the script and getting to know the character, though, Bishop grew to love Sandy and her innocence.
“We’re completely different, Sandy and I,” Bishop laughed. “She’s more of a preppy, good girl and I’m not really like her at all.”
Those in attendance can expect to hear songs they remember and are encouraged to sing-a-long to the local version of Broadway’s 14th longest running show in history.
Tickets are $7 for students and seniors, and $10 for adults. Showtimes are: June 22-June 24 and June 29-July 1. The Friday and Saturday showings are at 7 p.m., and performances start at 2 p.m. on Sundays.