Iola High students put own spin on classic show



April 18, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Iola High School students have some big shoes to fill with their production of “Grease” — they pull it off very well.
With their own spin on the classic musical, they bopped till they dropped and sang doo-wop so well it makes you wonder if these are Iola students or if you have been transported to 1958 at Rydell High School.
The musical wouldn’t be complete without some dance sequences, which were choreographed by student Trilby Bannister, who also plays Frenchy.
Bannister has done her homework. The students’ hand jive at the prom was performed flawlessly. Trilby added in some swing moves that had Olivia Bannister, playing Cha-Cha Di Gregorio, flipping in the air.
The center of the stage is cleverly made to look like a jukebox with a band sitting at the top of it.
The band had some classical musical numbers to play that will be sure to bring back fond memories to the older group in the audience, such as “Grease” by Frankie Valli, “It’s Raining on Prom Night,” “We Go Together,” and, of course, the iconic “Summer Nights.”
The band is made up of Wyatt Prall, Garret Prall, Cody Cokely, Gerardo Rojas and band instructor Matt Kleopfer.
The songs and the dancing will make it next to impossible for the audience to keep their feet from tapping along.
Libby Shay and Jordan Strickler do a great job at not only playing the roles of Sandy and Danny, but also belting out the songs everyone knows and loves.
Shay plays a great reserved Sandra Dee and an even better dolled-up Sandy at the end of the musical.
Strickler, who had to spray his hair black to match the original Zuko look, is a suave and goofy Danny.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John would applaud their performances.
Grease wouldn’t be complete without the appearance of the Pink Ladies — Jan, Marty and Rizzo, played by Danielle Venter, Chanel Coyne and Audrea Stahl. Like any other students the ladies go through the trials and tribulations that come along with high school — love, a little bullying and even a pregnancy scare.
The ever-so-cool T-Birds — Doody, Roger, Kenickie and Sonny, played by Zach St. Clair, Jordan Garcia, Colton Schubert and Drew Smith — aren’t so cool when they are faced with tough times, such as fighting the rival school or asking a girl out to the prom.  
Rydell couldn’t function without the heavy hand of Miss Lynch. Madison Luken doesn’t break a sweat when it comes to getting the students in line.
In this rendition of Grease, the ever-so-sweet and obnoxious Patty Simcox is in love with Danny and to make Sandy jealous Danny even goes steady with her for a short time.
Catherine Venter, as Patty Simcox, gives a hilarious take on the student council vice president. She finds ways to distract Danny from talking to and being with Sandy.
The musical is directed by Richard Spencer, while musical directors are Greta Adams and Matt Kleopfer.
“Grease” will be performed at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center tonight and Friday at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, student admission is free.

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