While it may seem like putting on Grease was easy for our drama program based on their flawless execution of the musical, there are many factors behind the scenes that led to their exceptional performance.
One of the driving forces of the drama program is senior Emma Ream, who designed and produced many of the costumes while simultaneously acting and singing as the character Patty.
“It was truly amazing how her brain came up with the costume ideas. She looked at reference pictures of people from the late 50s and pictures of the original Broadway show,” sophomore Abby Prather, who helped Ream sew the 18 silk dresses that she made and acted as Frenchy, said.
Along with making many of their own costumes, the Grease cast held a lot of responsibility in regards to building and creating the set. With the instruction of stage director April Phillips, the cast built the entire two-story set, a feat never before accomplished by the Liberty drama program.
“The set has been built over the course of eight work parties. Almost all of it is student built. I put the stairs up with my own hands, which is a really terrifying thing for me because if anyone falls, the blood is on my hands,” senior Alex Hartford, who starred as Danny, said.
Luckily, the set has been a smashing success, giving the production a different dynamic than those from Liberty’s past.
“It’s amazing being up there because you’re able to see the whole crowd. It really gets my adrenaline going every time the curtain opens,” Prather said.
One important person to the drama program who often goes unrecognized is April Phillips, Liberty’s stage manager. From drawing the blueprints for the set to managing every event that happens in Landback Auditorium, Phillips is always working hard behind the scenes.
“My favorite part of the musical is working with the kids and seeing how creative they can be. I love seeing how they interpret the world and put it together,” Phillips said.
The biggest factor of the productions huge success is the incredible actors and actresses that brought the story of Grease alive. Although their performances were amazing many members of the cast had to overcome personal challenges.
“June Ricks has given so much to this roll that I think she has become confident through it. Watching her be able to come out and belt a tune that she had been struggling with and having total sheer faith in herself is something that I’m really excited about,” Hartford said.
The members of the cast also formed friendships and connections with each other that influenced the astounding onstage chemistry between the characters. Hartford and Prather developed a pre-show ritual that helped them prepare.
“During tech rehearsals we were waiting for the show to start and somehow we got on the topic of meditation and how it’s relaxing. Then we proceeded to get up and dance to the 50s music that is irresistibly danceable. So before every show we sit and meditate for about five minutes and then before the show starts we get up and dance all the nervousness out and get in position to start the show,” Prather said.