That hair, those pink jackets, the cuffed jeans and leather, and even some polished chrome were all back in style during Chateauguay Valley Regional High School’s exuberant interpretation of Grease.
From the first notes of Frankie Valli’s Grease is the Word, the audience was whisked away by the performing arts department and the stellar ensemble cast that simply clicked on stage. The musical had groove, it had meaning, and it was a testament to the exceptional teaching talent that has demonstrated, time and again, the transformative power of the arts at CVR.
Directors Lynn Harper, Dawna Babin, and Kim Guérin acknowledged the familiarity of “Rydell High,” while the cast of characters including Danny Zuko (Gabriel Perez), Sandy Olsson (Lyndsay Mackay), the T-Birds, and the Pink Ladies presented some challenges when it came to adding their touch to the piece. They encouraged audiences to look beyond their flawless renditions of crowd-pleasing songs such as Greased Lightnin’, Hopelessly Devoted to You, You’re the One that I Want, and We Go Together to see the investment of an entire community of family, friends, and volunteers in the final production.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking to get on stage and perform our first show,” admitted Mackay, following the dress rehearsal in front of a very appreciative audience of elementary school students on May 10. “We bring the show to life,” she said. While she was inspired by the energy of her character so memorably played by Olivia Newton-John in the movie, she added that she “put in a little twist of ‘me’.” Perez noted he also “had some trouble trying to fill the Travolta shoes,” but really got into the character in the end.
The cast in general was happy to be working on a production with some more mature themes. “After a bunch of Disney performances, we were able to bring the adults into the show,” said Daniel Roberge (Kenickie). “I think we were able to pull it off,” he added, before noting that being part of CVR’s performing arts department has really helped him and several other members of the cast to decide what to pursue after graduation.