by Alpine Union School District

Nate August and Kaylyn HopkinsIt didn’t feel like Summer Nights outside, but they were alive and well inside the theatre where the group of fifth through eight graders of the Alpine Union School District transported us back to the Fifties with the musical Grease. And for their Saturday night shows, they weren’t wasting any time. Although the rainy weather tripped up their plans to have roller skate-wearing carhops bring meals on wheels to the parking lot as the audience got warmed up with a drive-in movie, they still served hamburgers and shakes inside the theatre to get us in the mood prior to the start of the show.

I wasn’t able to make it till their final performance, and the cast was clearly in their own by then. The seasoned actor Nate August gave a truly standout performance as the cool high school senior Danny Zuko who has to compromise his coolness a little if he wants to end up with the nice girl he’s fallen for. The highlight is when he romantically serenaded a surprised audience member with Those Magic Changes. His counterpart is Sandy Dumbrowski played by Kaylyn Hopkins who has a definite Olivia Newton-John-ish look to her and a good voice, transitioning nicely between the good-girl singing of Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee and the very next scene in which she meets Danny Zuko halfway by wearing some leather for their great All Choked Up scene.

One of the comedic highlights from the show was definitely Ryan Guaderrama as Roger and Marielle Miller as Jan singing about Roger’s one natural talent – his Mooning. Kristen Osborn made for a jaded Rizzo, Danielle Pupa as Frenchy and Brock Cummings as the Teen Angel led a humorous Beauty School Dropout that included Frenchy demonstrating just why she couldn’t cut it in the hair biz, and Danielle Stathas led the Pink Ladies in a tribute to Freddy her love. The ensemble had some standouts including Jessica Rubin as Sandy’s rival Patty Simcox and Rachel Anderson as the dancing, nose-picking Cha-Cha who thinks she’s hot stuff. All combined the cast did a good job with numbers like Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Born to Hand-Jive, and the revved up finale of We Go Together.

Director Susan Lancaster and her team did some creative work with this G-rated version of Grease and came up with some creative sets and splashes. Some of the music was done at a slower than normal tempo which felt a little frustrating, but overall it still had plenty of fun and hi-jinks and peer pressure and the memorable tunes that have made this show a surprising classic. Top that off with free hamburgers and shakes, and you’ve got the makings of a thoroughly enjoyable Alpine night – summer weather or not.

Performed through March 18, 2006.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Danny Zuko: Nate August
Sandy Dumbrowski: Kaylyn Hopkins
Kenickie: Mitchell Carter
Rizzo: Kristen Osborn
Frenchy: Danielle Pupa
Doody: Brannon Cody
Jan: Marielle Miller
Roger: Ryan Guaderrama
Marty: Danielle Stathas
Sonny: Payton Saksa
Eugene: Patrick Sutherland
Patty: Jessica Rubin
Miss Lynch: Ashley Williams
Vince Fontaine: Cody Dupree
Cha-Cha: Rachel Anderson
Teen Angel: Brock Cummings
Johnny Casino: Zack Petsch
Rockin' Rita: Amber Blank
Alex Benjamin
Brittnie Swartchick
Jayce Galeazzi
Julia St. Clair
Cole Pulsipher
Tori Pool
Ryan Tweed
Elise Napier
Evan Myres
Brandi Brown
Ryan Krantz
Shaney Sample

Susan Lancaster
Sandra Bennett
Nicole La Bella
Tim Arends
Accompaniment: Joan Waterworth


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