Sussex Academy to perform ‘Grease’ April 4-6

The Burger Palace Boys practice choreography for “Greased Lightning.” Pictured from left are junior Ian Lisle (Bridgeville), junior John Kent (Seaford), junior Jake Farrell (Georgetown), senior Ellyes Baghouli (Rehoboth Beach), and senior Connor Hall (Milford). (Submitted photo)

GEORGETOWN — A new kind of excitement is circulating around Sussex Academy this spring. The school’s theatre program will perform the well-loved, iconic musical “Grease” Thursday through Saturday April 4-6 at its campus on Airport Road in Georgetown.

This rollicking musical features Rydell High’s senior class of 1959: duck-tailed, hot-rodding “Burger Palace Boys” and their gum-snapping, hip-shaking “Pink Ladies” in bobby sox and pedal pushers, evoking the look and sound of the 1950s.

Head “greaser” Danny Zuko and new (good) girl Sandy Dumbrowski try to relive the high romance of their “Summer Nights” as the rest of the gang sings and dances its way through such songs as “Greased Lightnin’,” “It’s Raining on Prom Night,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” recalling the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley that became the soundtrack of a generation.

An eight-year run on Broadway, two revivals, innumerable school and community productions, and 11 Tony Award nominations place Grease among the world’s most popular musicals.

Sussex Academy’s production of the show, which will feature over forty students, a teacher and our Head of School, has created much hype among the student body.

“I don’t think, in my limited time in the theatre program, that I’ve seen people more excited for a show,” said sophomore Savannah Nagy, who will play Sandy Dumbrowski, the show’s lead “good girl.”

Some students, such as junior Jake Farrell, have even decided to quit their spring sports in order to be in the production.

“I dropped out of a varsity spot in our golf team to do ‘Grease’ because I have such a fun time with the cast and everyone in the theatre program,” explained Farrell. “Every show I have been in prior to ‘Grease’ has just been so fun, and I have made so many friends through this show”.

The excitement surrounding “Grease” has even inspired several “newbies” to be a part of the program.

“Having ‘Grease’ as our spring musical has attracted so many new and old faces to the theatre program,” said senior Ellyes Baghouli who will play head “greaser” Danny Zuko.

“It’s been an absolute blast to see people who are new to theatre grow and love the art of performing.”

One new addition to the school’s theatre program – who bypassed lacrosse this spring season – is junior John Kent, who will play the iconic “funny-guy” Burger Palace Boy, Roger.

“I had wanted to do theatre for quite some time, so when the mention of ‘Grease’ was spread through the ‘non-theatre’ group as an option, a large number of us even considered going for leads in the show,” John said.

“After sitting at the interest meeting in a room full of people classified as the thespians whom we thought so different from us, we realized just how similar we were. From that point, we were kind of sold on joining in. There really wasn’t any turning back from there and so now we have a more diversified cast as far as theatrical experience goes, and I think it is for the better. I have enjoyed every minute of every practice I have attended and all the people that come with it.”

The cast of the show will also showcase many familiar faces who have participated in many shows put on by the school in the past, such as seniors Connor Hall (who will play the “bad boy” Kenickie) and Kyra Cutsail, who will play the loud and fun Pink Lady, Jan. Both students and faculty have found the show’s energy to be magnetic.

“I have never directed a show where staff are sneaking into rehearsal to listen and watch. We have even had some staff members staring in through windows outside of the cafetorium,” said director Erin Bobby. “Even with its edgy content — or perhaps because of it — there’s something about ‘Grease’ that is addictive. I feel like its positive energy has brought our actors, staff, and student body together.”

The show will run Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 and 7 p.m. Performances will also feature a 50-50 raffle, pizza and popcorn for sale, a “Grease” car cutout photo booth, and a silent auction to win a cast-signed “Grease” album cover and a framed, cast-signed “Grease” playbill.

Parental discretion is advised as “Grease” contains some PG-13 material, including vulgar language, sexual references, smoking, drinking, and some mild violence.

Tickets can be purchased at the door and cost $10 for adults and $5 for students/children. Sussex Academy is located at 21150 Airport Road, Georgetown.

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