Acrobatic, energetic actors to ignite 'Grease'

The enduring hit musical “Grease” transports audiences to the ‘50s for the first three weekends in April at SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre, with acrobatic dancing, harmonic singing and energetic acting.

“Grease” runs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2; Saturday, April 9; and Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on April 10 and 17.

“The one thing we’re not focusing on is lots and lots of scenery,” said director Jonel Langenfeld-Rial, an assistant professor of theatre at SUNY Oswego. “The energy and aura of the actors will light up the stage.”

In the hit song “Summer Nights,” the iconic posse of teen girls known as the Pink Ladies famously croon, “Tell me more, tell me more, like does he have a car?” And thanks to many hours of work under the direction of scenic and lighting designer Tim Baumgartner, assistant professor of theatre, the production does have a car.

Pink Ladies pose.In the mixed-media production, video, sound, light and a multitalented student cast will bring the familiar tale to life.

Enduring storyline

The play tells the story of Danny Zuko (Jamine Coley) and Sandy Dumbrowski (Amber Hammonds), who have a fling the summer before their senior year in high school. When Sandy turns up as a new student at Rydell High that fall, Danny plays it cool to keep up his image with his T-Birds (Burger Palace Boys in the original)—Sonny (Dylan Duffy), Roger (Robert Beshures), Doody (Erik Shuler) and Kenickie (Nick Pike).

The Pink Ladies—Rizzo (Alexandra Renzetti), Jan (Katie Reid), Frenchy (Jessica Quindlen) and Marty (Olivia Zeis)—take Sandy under their wing to “reform” her high moral values and conservative clothes. Sandy transforms herself to Danny’s dream girl, yet teaches him to respect her—and the romance is back on.

Other characters in “Grease” include Patty (Jennifer Pratt), Ms. Lynch (Sarah Sterling), Eugene (Danny Distasio), Vince Fontaine (Samuel Austin), Johnny Casino (Colin Holmes), Jackie Mienkiewicz (Cha Cha) and Teen Angel (Scott Silver).

Besides Langenfeld-Rial and Baumgartner, staff members include costume designer Kitty Macey, sound designer Steve Shull, technical director Sean Culligan and costume shop supervisor Judy McCabe.

Student crew credits include assistant director Alagia Conwell-Felix, assistant to the director Brien Bianchi, stage manager Rebecca Anne McCarthy, dramaturg Katie Reid, assistant musical director/conductor Wojciech Milewski and associate lighting designer Patrick Cavlin. Many other students assist in the cast and crew.

Colorful fundraiser

Colleges Against Cancer will present Pink Lady Weekend at the April 9 and 10 performances, to benefit the American Cancer Society. Those wishing to help may donate $5 and receive a Pink Lady scarf, available at Tyler box office, the College Store’s Campus Center and Hewitt Union locations, and at the office of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts, Room 601 of Culkin Hall.

Tickets for “Grease” are available at all SUNY Oswego box office outlets, online at and by phone at 315-312-2141. Tickets are $15 ($12 for SUNY Oswego staff, non-SUNY Oswego students and for seniors ages 60 and over; $7 for SUNY Oswego students) for the run.

Parking is free on evenings and weekends for those attending this event. For persons with disabilities needing assistance, call the Tyler Box Office in advance at 315-312-2141.

PHOTO CAPTION: Think pink—The Pink Ladies rally around Sandy Dumbrowski (Amber Hammonds, center) in the SUNY Oswego presentation of “Grease.” From left are Rizzo (Alexandra Renzetti), Frenchy (Jessica Quindlen), Jan (Katie Reid) and Marty (Olivia Zeis) in this grouping at Mom and Pop’s Diner, 23 E. Utica St. The enduring musical celebrating teen passions runs for eight performances the first three weekends in April in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre, with a preview Thursday, March 31.

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(Posted: Mar 18, 2011)

Tags: theatre, theater, none