by Southview High School

Before Disney’s High School Musical there was another popular musical set at a high school about a boy and a girl from different worlds trying to get together in spite of their friends who are eager to tear them apart. It was Rydell High School, and the boy was named Danny Zuko and the girl was named Sandy Dumbrowski. And it was called Grease. And it was recently performed at another high school – Southview High in Sylvania, Ohio.

Lauren Rizzo, joined by co-director Samantha Stevens, was directing her first musical with this one. Perhaps it was fate that Lauren’s directorial debut would feature namesake character Betty Rizzo. Although the fates weren’t so kind when a thunderstorm shorted out all the theatre’s lighting cues the night before the opening. But the techs came through, and the show went on surprisingly smoothly, lights and all.

The cast is led by an excellent singer in the form of Katelyn Schlosser as Sandy who, in this newer version of Grease that incorporates some of the hit songs from the film, gets to sing the Olivia Newton-John classic Hopelessly Devoted to You. Katelyn later lets her hair down nicely opposite Danny (Eric Wolff) in the popular You’re the One That I Want. She also adlibs pretty well when her cheerleading outfit suffers from a wardrobe malfunction, with Sandy saying that she thinks she needs a new uniform as she holds up her skirt, and Patty Simcox (a fun Allison Dunn with good acting and dancing) follows up quickly, explaining “well, that’s why we always wear shorts underneath” as she fixes Sandy’s skirt.

Eric Wolff has a cool confidence about him as Danny Zuko, making a good team with Sandy and as leader of the Burger Palace Boys, as well as hitting some of the tough notes with style in his Alone at the Drive-In Movie song. The other Burger Boys turn in some good performances including Kenickie (Spencer Gatwood) leading the gang in Greased Lightning (dirty towels hanging over the sides of the car allow them to quickly convert the clunker to a more sporty-looking vehicle that Kenickie drives with his feet Fred Flintstone-style), Doody (Chris Jennings) learning the guitar in Those Magic Changes, and physical comedian Seth Bargaheiser as Roger who delivers laughs throughout – especially as he describes his Mooning skills to a very interested Jan (Christinna Oley).

Other fine performances come from Jamie Roy as tough girl Betty Rizzo, Louisa Lundgren as Frenchy who uses her voice well and brings her guardian “Teen Angel” (Matt Timm) scene to a halt with her unhappy look at being called a hairstylist fit only for a hooker, Ashley Cook as an amusingly aggressive Cha-Cha Digregorio, Larry Wymer as a cool, nerdy Eugene, and Jill Maseman as a stuffy Miss Lynch who cuts loose on the dance floor and proves to have some of the best grooves on the dance floor.

Overall it’s a nice debut for Lauren Rizzo and Samantha Stevens who also included bits of creativity here and there, including the rags-to-riches Greased Lightning transformation, having the girls build a “Freddy” in Freddy My Love by holding up some clothes as Marty (Elena Loo) leads the singers, and a fantastic program that is put together like a high school yearbook complete with a table of contents, senior class pictures, and naming some of the cast members with a Student Activities section that includes club members and “most likely to…” winners.

Performed May 10-12, 2007.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Miss Lynch: Jill Maseman
Patty Simcox: Allison Dunn
Eugene Florczyk: Larry Wymer
Jan: Christinna Oley
Marty: Elena Loo
Betty Rizzo: Jamie Roy
Doody: Chris Jennings
Roger: Seth Bargaheiser
Kenickie: Spencer Gatwood
Sonny Latierri: Michael Kilcorse
Frenchy: Louisa Lundgren
Johnny Casino: Lee Cramer
Sandy Dumbrowski: Katelyn Schlosser
Danny Zuko: Eric Wolff
Vince Fontaine: John Fuller
Cha-Cha DiGregorio: Ashley Cook
Teen Angel: Matt Timm
Rhonda Williams: Grace Borell
Ronnie Parker: Steve Leininger
Margaret Lewis: Lauren McKinch
Dora Valdez: Tia Garcia
Alfonzo Ramirea: Ryan Aridi
Poppy Davis: Shelby Powell
Teri Cloth: Sarah Al-Momar
Catherine Adams: Emily Diener
Deborah White: Kat Rapin
Sharon Beeler: Heather Ramsey
Pamela Thomas: Kristina Stark

Directors: Lauren Rizzo and Samantha Stevens
Asst. Stage Director: Kari Kapszukiewicz
Choreography Director: Maria Perez
Technical Director: Kay Holt
Musical Director: Tim Hoffman
Vocal Director: Sue Thompson
Costumes: Elisabeth Ampthor, Kara Loo
Sets: Olivia Reiter
Stage Manager: Amanda O'Shea
Sound: Adam Calandra


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