REVIEW: ‘Grease’ lights up the Masquers stage

Photo+taken+by+Mr.+Miller
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REVIEW: ‘Grease’ lights up the Masquers stage

Photo taken by Mr. Miller

Photo taken by Mr. Miller

Photo taken by Mr. Miller

Photo taken by Mr. Miller

By Sofia Russo, Apprentice

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It’s electrifying! Yet again, the Masquers of West Essex pulled through with their fun stage production of the musical “Grease.” Most students know the iconic John Travolta movie version, but many don’t know that it’s actually adapted from a 1971 musical. The Masquers wisely decided to add parts of the movie into the play, creating a version that hit many of the best familiar notes while also giving people something new.

Opening night was on March 7, followed by a performance on Friday night and two performances on Saturday. When first entering the lobby, streamers, a jukebox and other ’50s themed decorations helped set the mood. The auditorium was filled with excitement as people were rushing to find their seats. And as the lights went out, the first scene began.

“Grease” is one of those movies that everyone remembers, and there were many differences in our school’s version of the musical than the movie. Though the Masquers cast killed it in terms of their performances, the script they were working from bounced around a lot and didn’t follow the exact set up of the scenes from the movie, which likely threw off die hard fans of the movie. To me, this was disappointing because I would have loved to see more of the movie portrayed.

Sandy, played by senior Madelin Morales, was not on stage performing for most of the time, but when she was, her voice swept us away. Although she was missing the iconic blonde hair, Morales’ voice and acting stood out and gave me chills.

Sophomore Grant King, played the outstanding role of Danny Zuko. His smooth moves really convinced us that he was the perfect Danny. So far, King hasn’t failed at being the lead role in many of the schools shows. His relationship with Sandy was a roller coaster throughout the musical, but again, the movie version provided more emphasis on the troubles of their relationship than the stage production could.

The plot focused a lot more on Rizzo, played by junior Ashley Thomas, than it did any other role. Thomas killed this role as she knew how to be sassy and sweet Rizzo giving me the love/hate feeling towards her. Her voice was nothing short of amazing during her solo “Sandra D”.

The T-Birds and Pink Ladies were the glue to the show. Senior Elaina Ragusa, junior Nick Stampone, junior Sofia Pastena, sophomore Ethan Miskulin, senior Kate Zincone and freshman Luke Miller all put on a spectacular performance. They taught us what it truly means to be a cool kid at Rydell High. They gave off the iconic “Grease” vibe.

Junior Lily Patracuollo, who played Patty Simcox, and senior Courtney Tannler, who played Mrs. Lynch, both had stand out roles that gave the crowd a laugh. The ensemble did a very nice job of making the play feel full plus the addition of the casts amazing voices… everything came together perfectly.

Beyond the actors the pitch-perfect set design stood out during the show to help sell the ‘50s greaser vibes, especially the show’s infamous car. Set director Lee Oberg, along with the set design crew, worked on the sets for weeks, and their hard work paid off. The show also served as a sentimental sendoff of Mr. Oberg, who marked his final season working with Masquers after more than 35 years of set design and production. .

The relationship between the cast is undeniable, and their passion shone through in their on-stage performance. No, “Grease” the musical isn’t “Grease” the movie, and seeing past that meant enjoying a fun whirlwind of ‘50s nostalgia and high school drama.