The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Drama Department’s “Grease” Hits the Mark

Alec Chvany
Photo Courtesy Alec Chvany

On Thursday, Nov. 10, the MIHS Drama Department hosted their opening night of “Grease,” written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey and directed by Katy Ramsey. The show was filled with well-crafted jokes, some of which were changed from the original musical to reflect today’s social climate, a compelling romance that touched on many of the social issues teens face in high schools and a few heartwarming scenes, all beautifully performed by the cast. 

“I think [the performance] went well,” senior Abby Weiss, who plays Betty Rizzo, said. “It felt like muscle memory and I feel like my brain turned off.”

The craftsmanship coming from both the cast and crew was amazing. For the song “Greased Lightning,” one of the most memorable performances in the show, set design mentor Sarah Giese decorated the band’s golf cart as the classic red convertible, which was driven around the stage in a variety of scenes.

The set is beautifully built, featuring an arch of staircases that represents a jukebox that the band sits behind. The set also includes a screen that showcases videos of Danny and Sandy, the two main characters, spending time at the beach over the summer, providing context for the drama of the relationship. The videos were filmed and edited by MIHS alumnus Jack Drake. Another highlight of the design was the diner set, which provided the backdrop for two emotionally–taut scenes towards the end of the musical. It featured bright colors and swivel barstools, which felt like it accurately reflected the time period it took place in.

One of the best parts of the show was “Beauty School Dropout.” The number opens with Milo Mechem-Miller, who plays the main angel, on top of the jukebox set while other angels sit on the steps of the arch. All of the actors were dressed in extravagant costumes that sparkled in the light. Mechem-Miller was hilarious and the ensemble as well as the production elements made it an extremely engaging song.

While opening night was extremely entertaining for the audiences, the actors also believed that it went well for the cast as a whole.

“There were a lot of people here and it was exciting to hear them laugh at the jokes since yesterday we had an audience of 20 middle schoolers,” sophomore Kyle Gerstel, who plays Danny Zuko, said. “All of them either didn’t get the jokes or they were afraid to laugh at them in front of their parents. It was a nice change of pace.”

However, both Gerstel and Weiss agreed that there is always room for improvement among performances.

“I think we can tighten everything up and have less space in between punchlines and make everything cleaner,” Weiss said.

“The nice thing about today is that we realized some of the jokes we were experimenting with that aren’t necessarily in the script we should skip over because they didn’t work,” Gerstel said. “It went great tonight but it’s [good] to have something to work towards to continue growth as an actor.”

Be sure to support our drama department and go see “Grease” tomorrow on closing night. Tickets are available online and at the door.

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About the Contributor
Jordan Balousek
Jordan Balousek, Managing Editor
Jordan Balousek (she/her) is the Managing Editor for the MIHS Islander, and she is in her third year of journalism. Outside of school, she enjoys playing soccer, watching baseball and hockey, working at Arena Sports, reading and hanging out with her friends. She is also a very big fan of multitasking and chocolate ice cream.

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