A party on stage

WHS drama students to perform 'Grease,' have sock hop

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When: 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 13-15; and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22, with a 1 p.m. matinee that Saturday. Content is appropriate for all ages.

Where: Washburn Performing Arts Center at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St.

Cost: Tickets are $8 for students and senior citizens, and $10 for adults. These are available at the door and at www.brownpapertickets.com.

Cast:

Danny - Carson Connors

Sandy - Liza Hess

Rizzo - Sydney Valaer

Frenchy - Keira Stogin

Marty - Danielle Devall

Jan - Samantha Eakins

Kenickie - Marshall Graham

Doody - Charles Moreland

Roger - Riley Miller

Sonny - Sean Leheny

Patty - Shannon Leininger

Cha-Cha - Jasmines Chhee

Eugene - Tristan Fackler

Vince Fontaine - Matthieu Grant

Miss Lynch - Rebecca Bennett

Featured Soloist - Shelby Brock

Chorus: Nathan Strickland, Michael Stevens, Mady Turner, Brittyn Slocum, Raquel Garcia, Holly Ericksen, Grace Breitenbauch, Shelby Brock, Aubrey Howell, Corie Hebert, Yerania Arriola, Breanna Rushforth, McKenna Barney, Kryshia Woods, Vanessa Scheg, Alexis Perez, Isabella Hernandez, Jessica Eakins, Naomi Gilmore, Jeff Lunde, Austin Leamer, Cassidy Hunsbedt, Hannah Couture, Aubrey Howell, Jenny Wilson, Shelly Morgan, Abbie Barnes, Felecity Goetz, Laura Dills, Tabby Hearn, Bridgette McCarthy, Chantria Chhee, Michelle Gazelka-Smith, Emmah Shilling, Wyatt Glaeser, Morgan Dorn, Ember Morris, River Pike, Fransisco Perez

When: 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 13-15; and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22, with a 1 p.m. matinee that Saturday. Content is appropriate for all ages.

Where: Washburn Performing Arts Center at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St.

Cost: Tickets are $8 for students and senior citizens, and $10 for adults. These are available at the door and at www.brownpapertickets.com.

Cast:

Danny – Carson Connors

Sandy – Liza Hess

Rizzo – Sydney Valaer

Frenchy – Keira Stogin

Marty – Danielle Devall

Jan – Samantha Eakins

Kenickie – Marshall Graham

Doody – Charles Moreland

Roger – Riley Miller

Sonny – Sean Leheny

Patty – Shannon Leininger

Cha-Cha – Jasmines Chhee

Eugene – Tristan Fackler

Vince Fontaine – Matthieu Grant

Miss Lynch – Rebecca Bennett

Featured Soloist – Shelby Brock

Chorus: Nathan Strickland, Michael Stevens, Mady Turner, Brittyn Slocum, Raquel Garcia, Holly Ericksen, Grace Breitenbauch, Shelby Brock, Aubrey Howell, Corie Hebert, Yerania Arriola, Breanna Rushforth, McKenna Barney, Kryshia Woods, Vanessa Scheg, Alexis Perez, Isabella Hernandez, Jessica Eakins, Naomi Gilmore, Jeff Lunde, Austin Leamer, Cassidy Hunsbedt, Hannah Couture, Aubrey Howell, Jenny Wilson, Shelly Morgan, Abbie Barnes, Felecity Goetz, Laura Dills, Tabby Hearn, Bridgette McCarthy, Chantria Chhee, Michelle Gazelka-Smith, Emmah Shilling, Wyatt Glaeser, Morgan Dorn, Ember Morris, River Pike, Fransisco Perez

Ever since it first opened in 1971, “Grease” has entertained viewers of all ages.

After more than 40 years, it is still being performed on professional and amateur stages around the world.

This weekend, Washougal drama students will take on the roles of the working-class youth at Rydell High School as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values and love.

“I have had a ton of requests for this over the years,” said Kelly Gregersen, drama director. “One of the requests was from Gordon Washburn (associate principal). This is his retirement year. The first time we did Grease nine years ago, he was the ‘teen angel.’ I wanted him to be able to do that again.”

The Washburn Performing Arts Center is named after Washburn.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Gregersen said. “This is a pretty beloved show and this time we are really focused on making it a great experience for the kids.

Another reason for bringing the show back a second time is that the cast can now perform the songs from the movie adaptation of “Grease.”

“When we did this nine years ago, those songs weren’t available and some people in the audience asked, ‘Why aren’t you singing, ‘The One That I Want?'” recalled Gregersen.

“We are trying to be true to the show and at the same time be ourselves,” he added.

Gregersen has enjoyed watching the 50 plus cast members put their own twists into the characters.

“I have done very few repeat shows in my career here and it has been fun to watch this go in a different direction than it did last time,” he said.

To add to the fun, there will be a sock hop, complete with 1950s musical favorites, before each performance.

“It’s a party,” Gregersen said. “People can get on stage and dance with the cast. It should be a blast.”

Junior Carson Connors plays the role of Danny Zuko, leader of the T-Birds gang, who is in love with Sandy Dumbrowski, a new girl in town.

“He likes to act like he’s really cool and doesn’t want to show emotions to the other guys,” Connors said. “When he talks to Sandy though, he becomes a lover boy. He’s really torn between those two worlds.”

Connors was thrilled to land a lead role in the production.

“I felt like I was able to accomplish something after a lot of hard work,” he said. “I was able to fulfill something I wanted for a long time. Rehearsals have been a lot of fun and I have enjoyed playing off the other actors on stage.”

Connors’ main challenge has been finding his “inner jerk.”

“I have to pull out a lot of attitude and sassiness that he has,” he said.

Junior Liza Hess plays the role of Sandy.

“It’s my first big role and I was so happy,” she said. “It is something I have wanted to do since I was 6 or 7 years old. I am trying to show the progression in her character since Danny is changing for her, and showing how she can give a little in return.”

She enjoys the connection cast members have had during rehearsals.

“By the end, we are one big family,” Hess said.

Senior Danielle Devall plays the role of Marty, second in command of the “Pink Ladies,” the auxiliary to the T-Birds.

“She tries to act really sophisticated and is definitely the flirt of the group,” she said. “She also has a lot of boyfriends in foreign countries that she writes to, including one that is the subject of a song, ‘Freddy, My Love.'”

It is also Devall’s first big lead role in a WHS production.

“I have been waiting for this for a long time,” she said. “It is fun having my own solo, being sassy and having attitude on stage because I am a very girly person in real life.”

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