What does everyone want to see? Ford High School Theatre! That is what happened at Ford High School on January 22nd and 23rd. Our community was treated to a production of Grease by the Theatre Department. Jeremy Ashlin, Theatre Director, along with Judith McCarty, Choir Director, chose "a show that everyone would want to see." Ashlin's theater team performed the stage version of the musical. More than 700 attended two shows.
Starring roles were performed by Hannah Overly and Jansen Smith as Sandy and Danny. Other stars of the 30 cast members were Chandler Dunman as Kenickie. He joined theatre last year when Mr. Ashlin asked him. Chandler said, "Okay, and thus, a star is born." Brook Bhatti played Ms. Lynch. As a senior her experience helped her as an actress. "Improv has taught me to learn how to react when something goes wrong." Glitches happen but not much went wrong in this big production.
The Grease production was a collaboration of Ford High School. Contributors included audio-visual, band, Blue Belles, cosmetology, choir, and even robotics. Ford High School Choir Director, Judith McCarty directed the music, played piano in the band, and helped in casting. Thompson Middle School's theater participated as did some members of QISD's administrative staff in an opening number. Big productions take big commitment.
The cast and crew have been working on Grease for months. Emily Callaghan, one of the set crew, estimates more than 100 hours of painting were involved. Images of cars and the Rydell High School sign were projected onto props in order to provide a guide for painting the detail needed.
Technical problems were overcome. Lillian Wright managed lighting with more than sixty light cues during the play as well as painting sets. She and eleven other students spent a "tech day" on Saturday painting and building. It was a learning experience. "While painting, I thought I was using red paint, but in reality I was using stain. I accidentally stained my hands and couldn't remove it." Justin Konopka, who played Roger, had his mic go out in a solo. Emily Callaghan said she, "was freaking out but there was nothing you could do."
The challenges weren't all sets and memorizing lines. Brian Black said, "Having to deal with people was very important." Brian played Vince Fontaine and joined theater because he likes theater and speaking publicly. Comradery developed over several months of working together.
The unexpected did not deter the cast, crew, and sponsors from giving the audience a grand production of Grease. Some students found it rewarding. "I love the people in theater. It's a good environment," says Halie Petty. Austin Carroll played the nerdy Eugene Florczyk. He believes the greatest aspect of the Grease accomplishment is the relationships developed. "The most rewarding thing is the family created," he said. That may be the highest form of creativity in a project like this.
Written by George McCain