'Grease' is the word at Penn State Harrisburg

"Grease" will be the word at Penn State Harrisburg April 16 through 19.

The college’s student Capitol Players are bringing the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds to the Olmsted Auditorium stage for four public performances of one of most popular musicals in Broadway history.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. There is no admission charge and reserved free tickets are available in the School of Humanities or by phoning (717) 948-6470.

The production marks another chapter in the increasing focus on performing arts at the college.

Director of the School of Humanities Kathryn Robinson says, “Programming such as 'Grease' serves various goals of the college’s mission including cultural enhancement, intercultural experiences, and outreach to the community. The performances of "Grease" are a fabulous opportunity. It will offer the surrounding community and our campus four exciting days of lively music and fun provided by our talented students.”

In addition to the establishment of the Capitol Players and two productions each year, the college choral group has seen a resurgence under the direction of O. David Deitz.

With a cast of 27 students under the direction of School of Humanities faculty member Jim Johnson, "Grease," for all its familiar music and spirited fun, is in reality “about the way rock and roll changed American culture in the 19650s and 60s,” Johnson points out. “Set in 1959 Rydell High School, the musical looks at teen love and rebellion, friendship, and even class conflict.”

A step back in time for anyone who remembers leather jackets and bobby socks, the songs of "Grease" are reminiscent of the classic rock and roll singers and groups of that era such as Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Paul Anka, The Diamonds, The Cadillacs, and The Penguins. The T-Birds and their leader Danny Zuko (Stephen Williams) sing “Greased Lightning” and share tips on how to use a car to attract girls. The Pink Ladies have slumber parties and try to transform innocent Sandy Olsson (Yasmine Roc) into a femme fatale, while Danny and Sandy reminisce in “Summer Nights.”

Johnson adds, “The cast and crew of students have been working throughout the semester to prepare. Although the stage production will be somewhat different for viewers who are more familiar with the 1979 movie version, most of the familiar music and spirited fun of the show will remain a focal point.”

A Penn State graduate, Johnson spent 10 years as a high school theater arts teacher before joining the Penn State Harrisburg faculty. He also has extensive experience with local and community theater.


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Last Updated May 06, 2010