'Grease' Is the Word at Westfield

'Grease' Is the Word at Westfield

Westfield Summer Stage will present the musical "Grease" on July 22-24 at Westfield High School in Chantilly. Performances are Thursday, July 22, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, July 24, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. All tickets are $8 and are available at the door or by calling 703-488-6430 for reservations. Seats are general admission.

Lori Knickerbocker directs a cast of 55 local teen-agers in this homage to the early days of rock and roll.

"We chose this show because our actors asked for it — they're a talented cast who can handle the teen issues and challenging singing and dancing," says choreographer Yvonne Henry. "Audiences will enjoy the comedy and music and will leave with smiles on their faces."

Originally staged on Broadway in the early 1970s, "Grease" takes a satirical look at the dress, manners, morals, and music of teen-agers in the 1950s. The plot revolves around the attraction between cool greaser Danny Zuko (Derek Rommel) and the virtuous Sandy Dumbrowski (Meghan Bartnick) who go to Rydell High School. The show spawned such musical hits as "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightning," and "Beauty School Dropout."

Grease enjoyed a Broadway run of 3,388 performances — a record that would stand until 1980 when it was overtaken by "A Chorus Line." John Travolta and Olivia Newton John starred in the 1978 film version.

Westfield Summer Stage is in its fourth year of providing a musical theater performance experience for area teen-age actors and technicians, producing a full production in just four weeks. Previous shows include "Peter Pan," "Snoopy," and "Annie." This year, more than 100 students are involved in the production, both on stage and behind the scenes, with adults and students in leadership positions.

Rommel, a freshman at Radford University, and Bartnick, a rising junior at Seton Hall High School, lead the cast that features Carolyn Agan as Rizzo, Kevin Knickerbocker as Kenickie, Megan Henry as Marty, Will Quinn as Roger, Megan Meadows as Jan, Reaves McElveen as Doody, Katy Duncan as Frenchy, Kyle Findley as Sonny, Brian Randall as Eugene, Michelle Murgia as Patty, Crystal Vetsch as Miss Lynch, Dallas Sweezy as Vince Fontaine, Paige Williams as Cha-Cha, and Jon Lawlor as Teen Angel, plus more than 40 actors from area middle and high schools including Stone, Rachel Carson, Liberty, Westfield, Oakton, Seton Hall, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

In addition to Knickerbocker and Henry, the staff includes Courtney Reed and Ashley Hoffman, assistant choreographers; Clare Morris, vocal director and co-musical director; Micah White, co-musical director and accompanist; Leann Woolley, Barbara McDermott, and Nancy Reese, producers; and Diane Rogers, a recent Westfield graduate, assistant director. Rising Westfield senior Heather McGrath is the stage manager and Ken Rolfe, Jimmy Lawlor, and Scott Pafumi are supervising the tech duties. Maria Vetsch, Nancy Rolfe, and Valerie Armbruster are the costume mistresses.