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Mt. Baker High students showing Grease at Key City

“I got chills, they’re multiplying… It’s electrifying.”
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Oscar Hamilton and Rhiannon Kowalchuk practice their roles as Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko (Beth Turcon photo)

Mount Baker Secondary School students will be serving up some greased lightnin’, with a whole lotta shakin’ in May, for its spring musical Grease.

Rhiannon Kowalchuk plays Sandy Dumbrowski and Oscar Hamilton performs as Danny Zuko in this beloved and timeless theatre classic, which will stay true to its light and lively 1950s roots, and feature hit songs like “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” and “You’re The One That I Want.”

“I thought it was about time that we did something well-known; something that’s relatively light, airy and fun. In the post-pandemic world that we’re in, everyone just needs some joy and happiness,” said director and drama teacher Beth Turcon.

The musical is a shortened student adaptation of the original, which follows the teenage romance of sweet Sandy and bad-boy greaser Danny, who navigate a complicated world of teenage love and social hierarchy that could tear them apart.

Evening performances run May 11-13 at 7 p.m. at Key City Theatre and the showings wrap up with a Mother’s Day matinee on May 14 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Although they will be available at the door, Turcon said it is best to buy in advance at the box office or online, as they tend to sell out quickly.

The musical cast features 40-some students from Grades 10 through 12. A sizeable stagecraft class is working behind-the-scenes to build props and a dance class is helping develop the choreography.

Greasers Kenickie, Doody, Sonny and Roger are played by Gabe Miller, Hudson Gross, Finn McBurney and Garron Stuart, respectively. Sandy’s friends, The Pink Ladies, consist of Frenchy, Marty, Jan and Betty Rizzo, played by respectively by Bandit Fluegel, Tianna Kofluk, Emmalynn Boehmer and Pip Buch.

Many of the faces in the cast and crew are familiar to Turcon. She taught some of the students in their younger years when she directed drama productions at Laurie Middle School. A few former Mount Baker graduates are returning to help out with the costumes as well.

“They are awesome. Excellent leaders. Not just talented, but really strong theatre students and role models for some of the younger students in the play, which has been really great to see,” said Turcon.

Emily Bohmer, who has a leading role in Cranbrook Community Theatre’s latest play “The Shoplifters,” is the vocal director for Grease. Turcon said Bohmer took part in the very first play she ever directed at Mount Baker, a comedy called “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which debuted almost a decade ago.

Turcon said she has enjoyed watching multiple generations of thespians grow up and develop their talents on stage.

“They’ve been working so hard and it’s going to be a super fun show. It’s going to be high energy.”

Grease is one of those plays that has a legacy that spans generations; that is just as relatable today as is was when it was released over 50 years ago. Turcon said that Grease was popular amongst her drama students and many of them had mentioned they had always wanted to play a character from the musical.

“I was quite shocked at that, seeing as it’s old. They still know it and love it.”

Turcon has fond memories of playing Cha-Cha in The Victoria Operatics Society’s production of Grease about a decade ago. Cha-Cha is regarded as the best dancer at a rival high school and she steals the winning contest dance from Sandy when she swoops in to take Danny. Chloe Dickeson plays Cha-Cha in the mount baker play.

For Turcon, the timelessness of the play cemented the idea of showing it locally. She was also attracted to the play’s lively nature, which could serve as a pick-me-up from Covid blues.

“Covid was really hard on the arts in general. Trying to inject some life back into the arts in Cranbrook has been challenging.”

“Hopefully we can continue to grow the program and the love for theatre.”

To purchase tickets visit keycitytheatre.ca



About the Author: Gillian Francis

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