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“Grease” is the word

“Grease” is the word at Farragut High School’s Wells Auditorium this weekend.

FHS theater department will perform a slightly edited version of the 1971 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey beginning at 7:30 p.m., March 3-5, and at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 6.

Theater teacher Mindy Barrett, who is new to FHS this year, said the production will be similar to the 1978 film version starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.

“There is a slight difference. ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ is not in this,” she said.

“That was written for the movie specifically for Olivia Newton John. We did put two songs in from the movie that are not in the stage version, and that is “Sandy” instead of a song called “Alone at a Drive-In Movie,” and “You’re The One That I Want” instead of a song called “All Choked Up.” Those are the only changes we made that were movie related.

“We put those in because we knew that there were certain songs that people would want to hear when they came,” Barrett added.

The show also has been edited for any inappropriate content.

“We watered down some things to make it more appropriate, not only for high school but for anyone in the community who wants to bring kids to see it. There is a pregnancy scare in there, but it is very, very watered down,” Barrett said.

The show will feature two sophomore students in the male and female leads.

Connor Hess will play Danny, the leader of a gang of “greasers” called the T-Birds, and Rachel Shannon will play Sandy, a newly transplanted “good girl,” at Rydell High.

Both Connor and Rachel said portraying the iconic characters has proven to be a bit challenging at times.

“My biggest fear at the beginning was Danny’s ego,” Connor said.

“It’s an American icon. There is hardly anyone that has never seen the movie ‘Grease,’ everyone knows the music; everyone knows his quotes from the movie.

“The first couple of days I was getting frustrated. I didn’t know how to approach the character because I have never played anyone like this before, but as it went on things started to click. I have gotten his mannerisms, the way he talks. He is complex. He has his façade that he puts on for the guys, and then when it is just him and Sandy, he is Mr. Mushy. So it has been fun to play that kind of character,” Connor added.

Rachel said her struggles with the character of Sandy do not come into play until the end of the show.

“Sandy is like me in the beginning,” she said.

I am kind of one of those goody-goodies. I am not really a rebel in any sort of way. So she in the beginning is me, but to get to the part, like ‘You Are the One That I Want,’ it has been a little difficult to come out my shell, but I have and it is so much fun now,” Rachel added.

Before beginning rehearsals, Barrett asked the students not to watch the movie.

Connor said, “She said, ‘don’t watch the movie because the music is going to be different and I want you to put a little bit of yourself into this character. Don’t try to completely imitate John Travolta because it won’t work. John Travolta was John Travolta and you are Connor Hess and you are going to have to do this character.’

“I have kept him in mind the whole time and taken a lot of what he did, but also I have to use myself in it too,” he added.

Barrett said she was not hesitant at all to put on such an iconic show.

“This is a really good group of kids … a very cool cast. These kids are very easy to work with.

“[The show] can be big, and it can also be scaled down, but we are trying to put on the big show that Farragut is used to seeing,” she added.


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