GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - "Grease" is the word this month on the Glenwood Springs High School's Jeannie Miller Theatre stage.Since January, the drama department has been hard at work preparing for a production that features 70 students who will be acting, singing, dancing, playing music, running lights and sound, and making sure the set is as realistic as a "Grease" set can be."It is incredible how many kids are part of the show," said the show's director/producer Kate McRaith. "Our cast includes 48 of the students who will be on stage. Everybody pulls together to make the show great."Opening tonight at 7 p.m., the high school's production of the pop-culture icon "Grease" is sure to bring nostalgia to audiences who remember the love story between Danny and Sandy."I am really really excited about it," McRaith said. "Tons of people love it. But it can be a risk because some people hate it. But the stage version is different, and there will be some similarities. No one can help but compare it. I just love it so much."McRaith said the cast sat down early in the planning stages of picking the spring production to discuss the worldwide popularity of "Grease.""We tried to identify what it is about 'Grease' that makes people love it," she said. "We came up with a lot of adjectives like energetic and lively. We just asked ourselves, 'How can we capture that excitement people have about 'Grease?'' But we also wanted to do something different. And with the approach we have taken, it is."McRaith said what stands out the most is the energy and talent the "Grease" cast is bringing to the Jeannie Miller stage. "We will have 17 students miked, if that tells you anything. The talent blows me away - the singing, the dancing, the acting," she said. "And the chorus is always such an important part of productions to me. In this production, every single student is a star in my book."Since many of the cast members are seniors, McRaith said the drama students have years of experience working together on previous productions, helping them build a rapport that shows through their performances."The teamwork and the camaraderie is impressive," she said. "The culture we have created in the drama department is so professional. Everybody pulls together. I have a number of students who do these shows repeatedly together. They have all worked together, and it shows."Amy Larsen, the show's assistant producer, agreed."This cast is unbelievable and so talented," she said. "Especially the seniors. Their comedic timing is impeccable. I have been so shocked by the progress they've made."Larsen jokes she may be a little biased on the talent level since her daughter, Lindsey Larsen, plays the female role of Sandy, played by Olivia Newton-John in the movie blockbuster, "Grease.""Honestly, these kids have the innate ability to hear the timing," she said. "They are just naturally funny people. They sure is a lot of energy, and the kids are so excited about bringing 'Grease' to our local stage."Larsen also agreed with McRaith that the show's lasting mystique will be a big draw as it premieres this weekend and continues next Friday and Saturday nights."I think the biggest thing about 'Grease' is that we all know and love it so much," she said. "With 'Grease,' it's really the music that makes the show. The audience will be rockin' in their seats. It really is a timeless musical."
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