Scarborough students prove 'Grease' is the word

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SCARBOROUGH — After “locking” their director in a dressing room to get his attention, drama students at Scarborough High School were given the opportunity to perform a second musical this school year.

Scarborough High School will be hosting “Grease,” the school’s first spring musical since 2011.

Even in 2011, the students only had one musical to replace the fall production they didn’t perform because they lacked a director. 

The students will be performing “Grease” on May 4 at 7 p.m., May 6  at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on May 7 at 1 p.m. in the Winslow Homer Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for students, seniors and faculty, and $12 for adults. 

Jonathan Miele, director of the Oak Hill Players, the group that stages Scarborough High School musicals, said the students faced a lot of challenges to put on the spring musical.

Schedules are demanding at this time of year, students face a shorter time frame within in which to work, and they were at first unable to reserve the auditorium for the Friday-night event. The students and their parents also volunteered to take on additional responsibilities because Miele has been recuperating from knee surgeries. 

“(The students) have done an incredible job,” Miele said.

The students performed “Crazy for You” last November, when two students hatched a dramatic – albeit amusing – plan to lock their director in a dressing room to pitch the idea of performing “Grease” this spring.

Miele laughed as he recounted how Hallie Scammell and Lizzy Hobbs asked to talk to him between performances of “Crazy for You,” then locked the dressing room door behind them and told Miele he needed to hear them out. 

It wasn’t a tough sell, and Miele agreed to the task.

Scammell and Hobbs, who dreamed of performing in “Grease,” are now junior producers and will play Sandy Dumbrowski and Betty Rizzo, respectively. 

Miele, who has had two knee replacements since the fall musical and couldn’t do as much as he usually does, said the students and parent volunteers have really stepped up.

The students even have a student choreographer, Sasha Borodkina, as well as a parent choreographer, Rachel Corcoran, who has two sons in the show, Brennan and Liam. 

“They will do anything to make this happen, and they have,” Miele said. “I’m proud of these kids for running the show, really.”

Miele said about 50 students and parents are participating, and the show will feature about 35 students on stage. 

“‘Grease’ is so widely known and a good old rock ‘n’ roll musical that should appeal to young and old alike,” Miele said. 

Miele said the producers have to get permission from the Samuel French licensing company to make a few changes to the play and make it more family friendly.

Scammell, 17, a senior who will be studying performing arts management at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, said the drama students are performing the original stage version of “Grease,” which has many extra songs that were not included in the movie, such as “Freddie, My Love,” ” Mooning,” and  “Shakin at High School Hop.”

“The costumes are great. I think the set is going to be amazing,” Scammell said.

Scammell also said there will be several surprises people won’t expect to see during a musical.

“It will be different,” Scammell said. 

Hobbs, 18, a senior who has performed in all of the school plays since her sophomore year, calls the play “super fun, upbeat, iconic.”  She said the musical features more partner dancing, lifts, and cartwheels which is very different than their usual plays. 

Brennan Corcoran, 17, a senior playing Kenickie, said, “I’m going to sing and dance on a car in (the song) ‘Greased Lightning.'” 

“Dancing has never been my forte, but it is a cool opportunity and I am looking forward to it,” Corcoran said. 

Corcoran’s brother, Liam, 16, a sophomore who will play dual roles as Doody and The Teen Angel, said acting has been a good experience made more interesting by having his whole family work on the production. In addition to performing with his brother and his mother volunteering as a choreographer, his father is building the set. 

Sam Laro, 17, a junior playing the role of Danny Zuko, said, “I think ‘Grease’ is one of the most real coming-of-age stories there is. There is a lot of depth to the characters.”

Claire Merrill, 15, a sophomore who will perform as Marty Maraschino in 3-inch heels, says ‘Grease’ is very different than anything the Oak Hill Players have offered in the last few years, calling it, “a real breath of fresh air.” 

Miele said he would like to start doing a spring musical or spring play every other year. 

Miele said the ideal well-rounded school theater program would stage a musical, host a one-act play competition, and direct a play. 

“Is is really tough to do two musicals,” Miele said. 

“Everyone loves ‘Grease’ and if they don’t, they should come and see the (student) play and they will learn to love it,” Laro said. 

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Scarborough High School students pose for a photo to promote their spring musical “Grease.” From left are Elizabeth Albahary as Jan, Bella Ingream as Frenchy, Hallie Scammell as Sandy, Claire Merrill as Marty, and Lizzie Hobbs as Rizzo. Hallie Scammell who plays Sandy in Scarborough High School’s spring musical “Grease” stops to talk to fellow cast members while photographing them at the school.
Sam Laro plays Danny Zukko and Hallie Scammell plays Sandy Dumbroswki in Scarborough High School’s spring musical “Grease.”

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