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Greased Lightnin’ rolls into the theatre ahead of Waihi College’s production of Grease. Photo: SUPPLIED

Hopelessly devoted to ‘Grease’ as musical hits the stage

Waihi College is ready to rock and roll, as the students gear up for their musical performance of Grease.

The show runs from June 22-24, and rehearsals have been going since the beginning of term. More than 60 kids have been strutting their stuff, learning the hand-jive and rolling back the clock to 1958 as they prepare for curtains-up.

“It’s a really cool vibe,” producer Wendy Shave said.

“There’s lots of community involved, lots of staff involved. The kids are loving it.”

The show features an unusual stage setup – from the main stage, a catwalk will extend towards a satellite stage placed right in the centre of the audience.

“The audience is really right in amongst it,” Wendy said.

There’s plenty of room for the large cast, along with the star of the show, Greased Lightnin’ herself.

“We’ve got this amazing car which [musical director] Edwin organised,” Wendy said.

“It doesn’t have the engine in it so it’s kind of the shell of the car but it looks completely legit and it’s just the best.”

Participation in the show is high; as well as the large number of performers on stage, many students and community members are lending their skills to backstage pursuits such as costumes, set painting, props, and hair and makeup.

“We’ve got lots of staff and students involved, we’ve got students manning a food stall all of the evenings where we’re doing popcorn and slices and drinks,” Wendy said.

“Everyone’s all over it.”

And excitement is running high, with tickets almost sold out a fortnight before opening night. The school has also opened the
final dress rehearsal on June 21 to the local primary schools, allowing 200 year 6s to experience a live theatre performance.

“We’re doing our final dress rehearsal in front of them,” Wendy said.

“To them it will look like a completed, polished show but for us it’s our final run through and a chance for the actors to be in front of an audience before they open up the next night.”

Wendy said the directors, drama teacher Ingrid Berry and music teacher Edwin Randell, have been putting their all into providing an unforgettable experience for actors and audience alike.

“Edwin and Ingrid are just doing an incredible job, the kids are just so lucky to have teachers that are so passionate and motivated to spend so much of their time outside of class working with them.”

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air.