BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The T-Birds and the Pink Ladies are going to be invading Shottenkirk Gymnasium next weekend and antics, show tunes and Rydell High are on the bill.
The Holy Trinity Catholic High School production of “Grease” has been in the works for about eight weeks and it all comes together on March 31, April 1, and April 2. Showtimes are 6 p.m. the first two shows and 3 p.m. on April 2.
HTC music instructor Stewart Beyer, who’s in his third year as choral director at the school, unveiled the program months ago with a little apprehension after his first production with Holy Trinity last year, “The Sound of Music”.
“Honestly I didn’t know how well received it would be,” Beyer said. “We did the “Sound of Music” last year and this was something we had a lot of success with. Because of that I was hoping we’d have a lot of people interested in it and actually we had a lot of people who stepped into roles and they did a fantastic job. I didn’t even know they were going to audition and some of them have lead roles,” Beyer said.
HTC senior Ben Tinguely landed the lead role Danny Zucco, He was also in last year’s production. But with the “Grease” storyline set in the 50s and the show coming out in 1978, he said he had to do a little research.
“My dad forced me to watch it,” Tinguely said. “He said this is how you’ve got to act…just like Danny Zucco in the movie,”
“I’ve seen it maybe a couple times in my life. I mean I’m familiar with it. I guess more familiar with the music than the movie, even though this is more of a play version and not the movie.”
Tinguely, who said last year’s musical production was tougher because it conflicted with soccer, said this year he decided to try out because the two only overlapped by a couple of weeks.
“(Mr. Beyer) had us try out and we all just read the same parts and sang the same song, and he just asked me if I wanted to be Danny and I said ‘Yeah’. So we didn’t really try out for any parts, but it worked out.
Sophomore Kyle Bredemeyer, who plays Frankie Avalon, said this year’s production is lighter and more fun, but last year’s was more dramatic and serious.
“It’s a lot of fun music, it’s just a fun musical to put on. Going from Sound of Music which was more serious and slower and this is quicker and lot more fun songs,” Bredemeyer said.
“Basically everyone is back for this one. Ben’s really good, he gets to play Danny.”
Lillian Schierbrock, a senior, also liked the change of pace of “Grease” and said she has also seen the movie.
“I’ve seen it before. I’ve also seen the live musical that they did on television not too long ago, but before that I had seen bits and pieces on television,” Schierbrock said. “But, yeah, it’s a lot of fun. I’ve been enjoying it.”
With the curtain coming up in just eight days, Schierbrock said she’s sure the cast will be good to go.
Beyer said the students are connecting more with a production that is more geared toward high school kids.
“They may not have connected personally with “Sound of Music” as they are with this one,” he said. “It’s fantastic to see them shine on the stage in a way that I didn’t know they would whatsoever. We have more realistic characters, and of course having the school version where there isn’t all the scandal, having that fits the mold of these kids here at HTC a little bit more, too.”
Beyer credited Ann Chapman with handling most of the choreography.
“I took a little bit, but she helped a lot alleviating that stress. I don’t know many that handle the music and the direction. I don’t have a pitband, so that’s a little different, but there is a lot of work to do.”
The show goes on March 31 and April 1 at 6 p.m. and there is also an April 2 showing at 3 p.m.