‘Grease’ coming to stage at TEMS

By Martha Marteney - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Thu., Mar. 8, 2012
The blue and red cast ‘Greasers’ practice their songs for the upcoming TEMS production of 'Grease: The School Version.' Photos by Martha Marteney.
The blue and red cast ‘Greasers’ practice their songs for the upcoming TEMS production of 'Grease: The School Version.' Photos by Martha Marteney.

Anyone familiar with the musical “Grease” will likely agree with Jenna Rondeau’s comment, “The music is so cool.” Rondeau is one of the members of the Timothy Edwards Middle School’s Entertainers program, which will be presenting “Grease: The School Version” on March 22 through 24. The “school version” has had some plot and lyrical changes to make the subject matter more appropriate for the school-age children.

To accommodate the participation of more students, the featured roles are performed by two sets of actors, with the “red” cast performing on the Thursday and Saturday night performances, and the “blue” cast performing on Friday night and the Saturday matinee. “I have worked with double casts before,” said drama director David Schwartz. “It’s perfect with a large ensemble.”

Schwartz, a retired East Hampton teacher, joins the Entertainers for the first time this year, bringing experience with both middle and high school theater programs, as well as community theater. He is stepping into the drama director’s chair, which was left vacant by the sudden passing of TEMS teacher Joe Connolly in November.

Carolyn Fisher is again musical director, and is getting some extra assistance from South Windsor High School junior Sam Crichton. It is Crichton’s second year helping with the TEMS production. This year her role has increased, and she is working more with the students and helping with scene blocking.

TEMS math teacher Stefan Klein returns as the technical director, helping the tech crew master the state-of-the-art theater equipment. He is especially looking forward to the added challenges of the live pit orchestra.

“I didn’t want to be onstage,” said sixth-grader Jackson Reed, “so I can be backstage and help with everything else.” Reed works with the sound board, including the cordless microphones for the cast and orchestra.

While some of the tech crew members are returning veterans, others are new to the experience. “I did this last year, and it was really fun,” said seventh-grader Brian Dinh. He especially likes the close-knit group of the tech crew and learning the equipment.

“Grease” sets the stage for a summer romance in 1958. Seventh-grader Katrina Schwartz plays the red cast lead of Sandy, and was in last year’s production of “Annie.” She noted that both were set in the past, but has found this year’s play easier to relate to, with the high school backdrop. In playing a character who starts off quiet, but becomes more outgoing during the musical, she said, “I try to think about what kids here would do, and change my character.”

Eighth-grader Addie Kimber plays the blue cast Patty, noting that she is generally energetic, like her character. “It’s always really fun [to be in the production],” said Kimber. “We get to be with friends while putting on a really awesome production.”

For eighth-grader Kyle Jones, however, who plays the supporting lead of Kenickie, he is not like his bad boy character. “It’s a little harder, but that’s were the acting comes in,” said Jones, “and the joy of the production.”

“Grease: The School Version” was written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, with special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. Performances will be held on Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m.; Friday, March 23, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, March 24, at 1 and 7 p.m. The tickets are $7 for general admission, and $5 for seniors 65 and older and children under 5. Tickets may be purchased by cash or check in advance in the main school lobby before school and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after school. Remaining tickets will also be available at the door prior to the performances. For more information, visit the Entertainers website at http://new.schoolnotes.com/xpages/view/48003. There is also ticket order form on the website.


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