‘Grease’ opens Friday in Elgin
This 1950s rock ‘n’ roll high school drama is set in California, and it’s full of music, dancing and over-the-top cheesy humor that will get audiences giggling in their chairs and reminiscing about their own high school experiences.
“We’re using a version edited by the original author, Jim Jacobs, which is more appropriate for family audiences,” said Terry Hale.
“Grease” is the 20th production in the last six years produced by Hale. Friends of the Opera House has spent more than $8,500 in royalties, music tracks, books and other song licensing to bring “Grease” to Elgin Opera House audiences.
Hale has also attracted talent for the 33-member “Grease” cast from a broad area.
“This is a community-oriented production with a lot of new actors from Elgin, Imbler, Cove, Union, La Grande, Baker City, Enterprise and Pendleton,” Hale said. “It’s our largest geographic pull ever, so we’re creating new actors and technicians here at the Elgin Opera House. This is a house of opportunity, and we’re pushing people out of their comfort zone to do amazing things.”
Soprano Chelsea Bliss plays the leading lady, Sandy Dumbrowski, who is hopelessly devoted to the cool Danny Zuko, played by baritone Seth Freeman.
“It’s the classic high school drama,” said Bliss. “Danny and Sandy meet over the summer, and she ends up attending his high school. He is a cool greaser and member of a group called the T-Birds. Sandy is an innocent young girl who doesn’t seem to fit in until she’s befriended by the Pink Ladies, a cool female group at school.”
Bliss is from Baker City, the daughter of Timothy Bliss and Carrisa Whiteman. She first appeared on the Elgin Opera House stage four years ago to play Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Since then, she has played other roles in Portland, at Eastern Oregon University and at the Elgin Opera House.
Bliss said the show will have some technical surprises for the audience to enjoy, but mum’s the word until audiences see it with their own eyes. With a grand stage setting and great light designing, the show promises to impress, she said.
The stage manager is Angie Whitnaw; choreographer is Caitlin O’Brien; and scenic painting is by Jon Hanley with set builders Nathan Harris, Hale and Kiel Fauske. The tech director is Harris, and the musical director is professional, New York City-trained vocalist Jocelyn Berado. The show is costumed by Celeste Hale and Nanette Winkelman.
“I’d like to invite everyone to come out and enjoy this,” Bliss said. “Bring your family and friends. It’s a clean, comical show, and you’ll go home with a smile on your face.”