Greenport High School’s production of ‘Grease’ opens Friday
Dressed to kill in their pink satin and black leather jackets, Greenport’s student actors are electrifying the stage this weekend.
The Greenport Junior Senior High School production of “Grease,” opens Friday evening. The classic rock ’n’ roll musical follows the fallout of a summer fling between two high schoolers: greaser and Burger Palace boy Danny Zuko and new girl in town Sandy Dumbrowski.
Music teacher and musical director Erika Cabral, who has been working alongside English teacher, librarian and musical producer Dylan Finder, said students had been hoping to put on a show in a similar vein to “High School Musical,” and Ms. Cabral selected a production she felt would appeal to a wider audience.
“Over the summer, when Olivia Newton-John passed away, I thought ‘Grease’ is such an all-encompassing musical,” Ms. Cabral said of selecting this year’s show. “Everybody knows it, old and young, and it’s something along the same lines as ‘High School Musical,’ but something that’s more beloved by the entire community.”
PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS GRASSO
From the seventh- and eighth-graders in the ensemble to the upperclassmen in the leading roles, several of the approximately 40 students in the production are rookies. Some of the stars of the show are students their peers and teachers would never peg as likely to sing on stage before a crowd, as their talents are typically showcased elsewhere.
“I pulled kids that are not necessarily theater kids for the show,” Ms. Cabral said. “We really rallied together and some of the girls that have done theater for a long time pushed for athletes to be in it. They helped us wrangle these kids that aren’t normally theater kids, but they took such ownership of it all.”
Such is the case of 16-year-old junior Ricky Campos, starring as Kenickie, Danny Zuko’s best friend. The soccer star said he is nervous, but excited to take the lead on “Greased Lightning.”
“I’ve never done this before and a bunch of my friends were doing it so I thought maybe it would be fun to try something new and come out of my comfort zone,” he said. “I play trumpet and tuba, but I’ve never acted before, I’ve never sang in front of a live crowd so it’s definitely new to me.”
The pit orchestra, a mix of Greenport students and outside professional players, boasts new kids on the high school musical block, such as Emma Mulhall, an 18-year-old senior. The multi-instrumentalist who has played in band since the fourth grade picked up her fourth instrument — the bass guitar — last September, and was asked to showcase her newest talent in the pit.
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous, I was more excited to throw myself in there,” she said of being asked to join the pit. She added she is most excited to perform “Those Magic Changes” because “in the beginning there’s a bass solo and I really like how it sounds, and I like ‘Mooning’ too cause that’s just a fun one to play. It has a nice rhythm too it and a nice feel.”
PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS GRASSO
Of course, the veterans of school productions have offered advice for newcomers. Brianna Rivas, hopelessly devoted to school plays since joining the “Little Shop of Horrors” ensemble in the sixth grade, said she advises first-timers to be themselves.
“The more you put yourself into the character and try to make yourself that character it makes it so much easier for you to go along,” the 16-year-old junior starring as Marty, a Pink Lady, said. “I like to bring how I’m silly and goofy and sometimes sassy to my character, that’s what we have alike. I kind of try to find similarities in the middle so I don’t completely lose myself in the character.”
“Grease” will electrify the stage of the Greenport Union Free School District auditorium on March 24 at 7 p.m. and March 25 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors, and can be purchased at the door.