CHS Theatre presented its opening night of “Grease” Friday to a packed, euphoric house that was ready for some fun entertainment. Clearly, the students and director Sean Kelly have been hard at work preparing the set, their lines, choreography, and songs.
Although the show experienced one technical glitch at curtain time, it was smooth sailing for the next couple of hours.

Grease

Kelly and company’s version of “Grease” was lively, entertaining, creative, filled with comedic moments, and a little irreverence.

It’s “Grease.”

What impressed me was the timing. These youth have been blessed some amazing talent and it showed during the two-and-a-half hour production.

The actors sprang to life with each scene and appeared to have their lines down quite well. And many had a penchant for singing. It was a lot of fun to watch.

Christian Gmelin did an excellent job portraying “Danny,” whose character’s personal struggles come to life during the performance. His affection and often times confusing relationship with “Sandy,” which was played brilliantly by Rachel Smith, took center stage, of course. Smith was able to switch emotions throughout the show seamlessly.

Rebecca Fitzgerald did an excellent job portraying “Rizzo,” one of the show’s main characters. She was gritty, witty, dramatic and enjoyable. Her timing was perfect.

Ryan Maxfield also delivered a stellar performance playing Kenickie, another troubled, but entertaining teenager. Maxfield had many opportunities to show off his talents, and he didn’t disappoint.

Perhaps Andrew Henson’s character, “Rodger,” stole the show. He had many moments to shine and used his comedic timing to entertain a willing audience. He managed to make his character lovable and hilarious, and was even willing to moon the audience during scene 6. That, my friends, takes guts. Getting pantsed and stuffed into a garbage can also got the audience clapping loudly.

 

Grease
Rebecca Fitzgerald as “Rizzo.”
Jake Rust had ample opportunity to show off his singing and performance skills during multiple scenes. He nailed it.
And we can’t forget Austin Miller’s moment in the spotlight as he played “Teen Angel” in one of the most hilarious, and spot on scenes during the show. Miller’s singing and acting were put on center stage and he delivered.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention JT Tumanuvao’s character “Sonny” and the dancing, singing, facial expressions and timing that added tremendous value to CHS Theatre’s production.
There are too many characters to mention in this short space, so I must give credit to the entire cast for an excellent display of their creative talents. I include the backstage and lighting crew in my gratitude. They’ve spent much time preparing.
 
Christian Gmelin as “Danny” and Rachel Smith as “Sandy” did
a fine job portraying the central characters of “Grease.”
“Grease” debuted in 1971 and was directed by Guy Barille at the Kingston Mine Theater on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, with a script based on Jim Jacobs’ experience at William Taft High School in the windy city. Warren Casey collaborated with Jacobs and together they wrote the music and lyrics.
Since that time, “Grease” has been performed many times on Broadway and has gone through several incarnations.
This CHS Theatre version continues Saturday at 7 and will have three more productions on March 14 and 15.
 

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