Grease is the word at Windsor High School.
The 1950s-based rock ’n’ roll musical, which became a hit movie in 1978 with John Travolta playing cool greaser Danny and Olivia Newton-John cast as the sweet, girl-next-door Sandy, will be all the rage at the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday night.
This is the second straight year that a popular movie — last year it was “Footloose” — has made its way on stage for the high school’s fall musical.
“People have been asking for it from day one since I’ve been her for 12 years,” director Julie Estrada said. “Finally, I decided this was the year because we had a significant number of guys. I hate to say it was all the singer boys, but that helped. I just thought it was the right year because we needed another big-name show like ‘Footloose.’ ”
Estrada said the musical will be similar to the movie as Rydell High’s spirited class of 1959, complete with gum chewing, hubcap stealing, hot rod-loving boys making up the T-Birds gang and the wise-cracking girls in bobby sox and pedal-pushers as the Pink Ladies, capture the coolness of the 1950s. Movie favorites Rizzo (Christasia Chavis), Kenickie (Brendan Prevost) and Frenchy (Lindsay Ridout) will also add to the entertainment value along with others.
Estrada, vocal director Aimee Woods, choreographer Scott Wright, instrumental director TJ Jackson, tech director Corey Hallwachs and assistant director Samantha Scheid have been coaching and training the students since August.
“Everyone’s expecting the movie, which we will deliver as much as possible,” Estrada said. “The story line is essentially the same. Obviously, we don’t have John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, but we have our own stars, meaning the neighbor next door, the kid that baby sits your kids, your co-worker’s son or daughter. We’ve got our own star power from the school.”
Danny will be played by senior Cosme Martinez, and junior Keri Von Kampen will take the lead role of Sandy. Danny and a vacationing Sandy meet at the beach and fall in love during the summer of ’59, but their relationship gets complicated along the way.
“This is their first musical, first production,” Estrada said. “I look at experience, but sometimes when you see potential in a kid, you just know that this person is it and vocally they’re the choice you need to make.”
Cosme, 17, is a star wrestler for the two-time defending state champion Wizards. He placed fourth at the Class 4A state wrestling tournament last year at 182 pounds, and also plays the drums and guitar for Ramona Flowers, a local indie rock band.
“I came out here trying to challenge myself and do something cool for my last year. I didn’t want to get bored,” Cosme said. “I like singing. I love music. I write my own music. My really good friend of mine, Avery Cave (cast as Jan), actually convinced me to do it. I’ve gotten into the part. Getting to know the guys a lot, too, is what makes me feel comfortable around it. I realize it’s just about having fun.”
Keri, 16, has performed in choirs for many years and said she always wanted to be the lead in a play, but never acted on it until this year. Keri said she loves an audience and being in the spotlight.
“I’ve been singing since I could talk. I’ve always had a really big passion for singing. I’ve always loved theater. This is the first year that I decided, ‘OK, I’m going to do this.’ It has been so much fun,” Keri said. “What people should expect is a lot of energy and everyone giving their 110 percent. It’s a fun show to do, so it’s going to be a fun show to watch.”
Cosme and Keri remember first seeing the movie when they were 5.
“They have not only stepped outside of their comfort zone, but then got into their comfort zone through their characters and really liked developing their characters,” Estrada said. “They’re going to shine on stage. I’m really excited about having them as Sandy and Danny. It’s cute to see the chemistry.”
Estrada said the audience should expect to be involved in the play.
“There are some sing-a-longs, so people who can’t just sit in their seats and just watch can hum along,” Estrada said.