Bow Valley High School’s drama group is hard at work preparing for their third production of the school year and will be presenting the Samuel French Broadway musical version of Grease starting on March 22 and will continue the following two days on March 23 and 24 up at the Cochrane RancheHouse.
Grease is a 1971 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Named after the 1950s United States working-class youth sub-culture known as greasers. The musical is set in 1959 at the fictional Rydell High School (based on William Howard Taft School in Chicago, Illinois) and follows 10 working-class teenagers as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values, and love.
Grease was also turned into a movie in 1978, which removed some plot elements, characters and songs while adding new songs and elaborating on some plot elements only alluded to in the musical. The film features bad boy Danny, played by John Travolta and good girl Sandy, who is portrayed by Olivia Newton-John and displays their lives as high school students.
Bow Valley Drama teacher Adrienne Fossheim said Grease was a musical that the group had been planning and wanting to present since early in the school year.
“For this particular title in Grease, we knew we wanted to do it as early as September. We wanted to do it, and quite frankly we were really excited to do it, but it was difficult to obtain the rights,” Fossheim said.
“We had to jump through a lot of hoops going through Samuel French to do that. But we wanted to do the full musical, so we had to do it the proper way. We’re really proud of this production in the fact that we have done that and we’re able to bring it to a Cochrane stage … we just loved the songs, we loved the look of the leather jackets and poodle skirts and we just wanted to do something that was fun and presented to all audiences.”
With Grease being familiar to almost every generation, Fossheim also added that the excitement leading up to their first show has been growing by the day, and tickets sales have been going extremely well.
“Tickets are flying off the shelves honestly … we’re having people come in and by tickets basically every day since the day they became available a few weeks ago,” Fossheim said.
“I think the fact that everyone knows of the musical or the movie even, really gets everyone excited. It’s one of these timeless pieces and not only does everyone from my generation love the songs, but the new generation … all these styles are coming back with the high waist jeans, the shoes, all of these sorts of things are really timeless and really fun.”
“This is the world’s number one musical. We’re trying to bring the musical to life up on stage and really bring back the 50s with the leather jackets and all that jazz … there are so many songs that people will recognize with Summer Nights and Grease Lightning, that it makes it hard for the people in the community to not want to come see the production.”
Bow Valley students Bethany Poettcker, who will be playing Rizzo, and Riley Paffrath, who will star as Danny, said all the cast and crew members are very excited to be part of such a well-known musical.
“I’m really excited. I think it’s going to be a super amazing experience, and I know we did a musical last year but I feel like we’re going to bring it even harder this year and the whole show will be amazing,” Poettcker said.
“I think I can speak for all of the people involved when I say that we’re all one big family … just things like practicing our lines or making sure costumes are prepared, we all come together as a group to make sure all these things are where they need to be in order for our show to go off without a hitch.”
“I think the chance to do Grease is really exciting because it’s one of the defining musicals. When you think of musical productions, Grease is certainly up there,” Paffrath added.
“We’re going to bring our own Bow Valley spin to it, and we’re having a great time with it already and we haven’t even gotten up on stage in front of an audience.”
“Personally, I love playing Danny Zuko. He’s trying to get the girl of his dreams while also trying to still be the cool guy and fit in with his friends at school.”
Those interested, tickets are $10 and are available at Bow Valley High School or at the doors up at the RancheHouse.