Large cast prepares to perform Baldwin High School fall musical “Grease”
The numbers explain why Katherine Cook chose “Grease” as this year’s Baldwin High School fall musical.
“We had 62 kids try out,” Cook said. “We still have more than 50 on stage. It has more opportunities for more kids to have leading roles.”
The cast has been rehearsing the musical for two months. The students have the songs down pretty well and now are polishing lines before performing the musical at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Baldwin Junior High School Performing Arts Center. Admission is $5 for students and $7 for adults.
The large cast that made the musical appealing also makes it a challenge for director Cook, a communications teacher at the high school, because casting a production that large means many in the musical have no experience in theater.
“We have a lot to learn with every show,” she said Monday. “It’s the most exciting week of the show. We have three days left to get it.”
Helping motivate the large cast is the popularity of the material most were familiar with from the movie “Grease,” starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, Cook said. The musical centers on the romance of Sandy and Danny during their senior year at Rydell High School. It is a romance that Sandy’s female friends in the Pink Ladies and Danny’s buddies in the T-Birds encourage — and complicate.
“The kids have always loved this play and are excited about it,” Cook said.
Senior Cassidy Markley, who is now in her fourth school musical, said she and other senior veterans will help keep the large cast on task.
“We’ll all hold everybody accountable,” she said. “It’ll work out.”
Her character, Frenchy, also keeps people in line as the Pink Lady member, Markley said.
“She’s a bit of a bully, but she’s nice underneath,” Markley said. “She’s a wannabe. She thinks she’s very special. She wants to be a beautician. She drops out of high school to go to beauty school and flunks out.”
A veteran of four school musicals, community theater and the Grammy Museum’s 2012 summer program at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Mo., senior Madeline Miley, said “Grease” was fun because cast members could relate to its doo-wop rock ’n’ roll music and their characters.
“I think playing high-schoolers makes it special,” said Miley, who plays Sandy, the female lead. “It’s been great so far. We’ll pull it together, like we always do.”
The musical gives all in the cast stage time to shine in big song-and-dance numbers, Cook said.
“The songs and dances really bring it all together,” she said. “We always have some in the chorus who don’t think they have something special, but they are what makes its special.”