The director of St Gregory’s end of year show, Michael King, tells the Times all about their production of this classic American musical and why he is so proud of his talented pupils
“Fifty performers, ten musicians, three choreographers, two casts and one very special car have all contributed to making St Gregory’s 2016 summer production of Grease another huge success for our school [in Tunbridge Wells].
Weeks of perfecting Teddy Boy quiffs and learning to jive in time to the show’s memorable tunes, which include Summer Loving and You’re The One That I Want, have resulted in a production that I believe to be pure perfection.
Our students are clearly loving every minute of being involved in this much loved musical, which immortalised both John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the roles of Danny and Sandy in the cinematic version in 1978.
I’ve noted a real adrenaline and enthusiasm coursing through the cast during rehearsals and I have to admit that it certainly helps to have a plethora of different personalities involved as they really do contribute a variety of skills and talents to the production. Some have never danced before while others have performed in numerous shows for years.
We decided to take the step of creating a dual cast for the show as that means that whoever wanted to be part of the Grease production could.
One of our year 10 students, Eliza Oyo, who is playing the female lead Sandy Olsson, told me that having a double cast gave her ‘the chance to meet and get to know more people in the school’ which is just fantastic.
George Palourti who is in year 12 and plays another of the principal characters, Kenickie Murdoch, admitted that being involved in it has presented him with a ‘new sense of confidence’. Those kinds of positive comments are just great to hear.
But it’s not just the challenge of acting that has been so enjoyable for our pupils. The dancing, despite some very tricky choreography, has been a big hit too.
Year 10 student Sabina Elston, who plays Cha-Cha Di Gregorio, said to me in rehearsal last week that learning all the different dances her character has to perform like salsa and the cha-cha-cha were definitely a ‘challenge’ but that by persisting she was able to get them right. That sort of spirit runs throughout the whole of the cast.
Yet although there will, of course, be some trials and tribulations involved in putting on a show of this size I have to say that our students have done exceptionally well and are really excited about performing Grease. Their perseverance for perfection is palpable – not to mention addictive! Grease really is the word…”
The St Gregory’s production of Grease runs from Wednesday July 13 to Friday July 15. Performances start at 7.30pm and tickets cost £7 for adults and £4 for students and under 18s. For more information please visit www.sgschool.org.uk