Desert Stages Theatre kicked off the summer of 2009 with the Summer Nights of Grease. Under the direction of Jessica Graham and the choreography of Tiffany Atkinson, this crowd-pleasing show keeps things light and fun but with touches of teen drama as we watch the goofily cool Danny Zuko trying to win the heart of the modest good girl Sandy while still keeping his cool status intact, all surrounded by a great gang of trying-to-be-cool guys, goofy and worldly Pink Ladies, and an ensemble full of high schoolers rockin’ their way through the Fifties.

Chris Allen is Danny, straddling the line between coolness and goofiness with excellent success, and doing a nice job after he finds himself stranded at the drive-in movie. His counterpart is Sandy Dumbrowski, featuring the talented Devon Lewno who brings a refreshingly realistic persona to the role. And the two are surrounded by a host of colorful classmates.

Who could be more colorful than Frenchy, Sandy's best friend, with Megan Mahoney giving a ditzy and amusing performance. And then there’s her hair. Not just the bright pink hair as usually seen. This Frenchy ends up going through one bad hair dye after another, all of which come back to haunt her when the know-it-all Teen Angel (Margaret Stuart) descends almost on top of Frenchy to give some advice with a heavenly host of angels sporting all the wigs of Frenchy's past (bright green, bright blue, you name it). But will any of those wigs ever give Doody (a charismatic and extremely girl-shy EJ Dohring) the courage to ask her for a date?

Meanwhile, Tanner Van  Parys makes for a good, dynamic Kenickie who leads the guys in some Greased Lightning, having to do it without the car (theatre in the round would have made that rather tricky), but you hardly miss it with these guys. Becca Courtney gives an especially strong performance as a jaded Rizzo who flirts and bullies with a great deal of inner pain, delivering on a powerful There Are Worse Things I Could Do. On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Jeremy Yampolsky and Libby Willis make a cute couple as Jeremy shows off his Mooning skills, while Haley Johnson leads the girls in mooning over Freddy My Love.

The rest of the cast includes a hilarious portrayal of Patty Simcox by Haley Cohn as a deliriously excited cheerleader who can’t wait for Rizzo to show up at the student council meeting and does a crazy dance to try to distract Danny from Sandy (taking solace with her comforting fellow cheerleaders when it doesn’t work). Other standouts include Jack Brenner as suave radio DJ Vince Fontaine, Jake Rodrigues as nerdy Eugene, and a memorable performance by Tyler Reaser as Cha-Cha, the local tart who needs boys to want her and is quietly sad when they don’t, creating a character that is both amusing and sad. The ensemble of drill team members and students are all happy, making the popular songs of Grease rock the small stage and get Scottsdale’s Summer Nights off to a great start.

Performs May 22 - June 21, 2009

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Miss Lynch: Emily Temple
Patty Simcox: Haley Cohn
Eugene: Jake Rodrigues
Jan: Libby Willis
Marty: Haley Johnson
Rizzo: Becca Courtney
Doody: E.J. Dohring
Roger: Jeremy Yampolsky
Kenickie: Tanner Van Parys
Sonny: Ian Biggane
Frenchy: Megan Mahoney
Sandy: Devon Lewno
Danny: Chris Allen
Vince Fontaine: Jack Brenner
Cha-Cha: Tyler Reaser
Teen Angel: Margaret Stuart

Drill Team:
Connor Baker
Lacey Bookspan
Jessica Brenner
Melissa Chavez
Carlee Coulehan
Summer Edwards
Eila Elton
Ali Getz
Monica Madden
Kate Mailliard
Alicia McCullough
Elizabeth McGovern
Natasha Milligan
Devon Prokopek
Heather Stephan
Elizabeth Taylor
Lauren Thorell
Jordan Yampolsky

Jr. Drill Team:
Katie Brown
Reece Evans
Elizabeth Johnston
Sarah Matin
Ivonneck Partida
Lauren Primack
Rachel Robbins
Sofia Toro

Rydell Students:
Annie Barget
Ellie Barget
Tristan Blick
Sam Chapman
Jade Chotin
Lily Dee
Lylah Defibaugh
Shoshana Dubnow
Ashleigh Edwards
Jack Edwards
Kaleigh Feuerstein
Kit Getz
Jed Kaufman
Lligaya Manalastas
Lauryn Martin
Grace McGovern
Sheldon Meyer
Terra Meyer
Haley Miller
Max Miller
Kasey O'Brien
Dasan Orlich
Emily Ref
Lexi Sherman
Natalie Slaiman
Olivia Taylor

Director: Jessica Graham
Musical Director: Terry Temple
Choreographer: Tiffany Atkinson
Set Design: Tiffany Atkinson, Laurie Cullity, Andrew Witcher
Lighting Design: Jonathan Bowersock
Make-Up Design: Jacqui Notorio


Home   |   Awards   |   Reviews   |   News   |   Actors   |   Headshots   |   Theatres   |   Calendars   |   Newsletters   |   Membership
Auditions   |   Workshops   |   Drama Instruction   |   Playwrights/Scripts   |   Vendors   |   Links   |   Advertising   |   About Us