Whether you’ve got chills that are multiplying or just appreciate something automatic, systematic, hydromatic, this will be the one that you want. The 1978 classic “Grease,” a tale of friendship and the complications of teen love set in the 1950s, is the La Jolla High School spring musical, playing Feb. 15, Feb. 20 and Feb. 22-24 in Parker Auditorium, 750 Nautilus St.
Accented by trampolines, roller skates, and all the pink jackets and rockability hair you can handle, the production features all the original songs.
“What drives the show is fun,” said director Stacey Allen. “I tell the kids that this is one musical where they can afford to have a good time. The audience will forgive you if the dancing isn’t perfect. The characters are young goofy teenagers, no one is expecting this heavy synchronized perfect routine. It’s all about having a good time. I want the audience to feel that, too. We have beach balls we throw into the audience, and we encourage people to come dressed in ’50s attire (you get a free burger if you do!). It’s all about having fun!”
He added: “The issues are timeless. It doesn’t matter what generation you’re coming from, these characters are young people trying to find their way in the world, exploring loyalty to each other, having a good time, young love, and goofing off — the stuff that high-schoolers do. That’s why ‘Grease’ can endure; it speaks to everybody. The same issues our grandparents went through, the same ones we went through, are the same ones they go through.”
That said, this production makes a few changes to make it more age-appropriate and add a La Jolla High spin to it.
“We have a couple cool things we’re bringing to this production,” Allen said. “We’re using trampolines so when the actors are dancing, they’re bouncing around bringing a new energy to the show; we’re renting a ‘Greased Lightning’ car; our Teen Angel, which is supposed to be a Franke Valle-type, is played by a girl and we have her on roller skates; and we don’t have the traditional Danny and Sandy, ours are both Hispanic (a la Hamilton). I wasn’t looking for the blonde Sandy or the John Travolta-esque Danny.”
With Kevyn Fernandez as Danny Zuko and Camila Castro as Sandy, there are some fresh faces gracing the stage — he’s always been the behind-the-scenes guy and she is freshman!
“This is my first musical,” Kevyn said. “I started in theater as someone in the background. In my church growing up, we did the story of Jesus and I would just stand there, but I didn’t have lines or anything. At La Jolla High, I was the sound guy. I joined up as a tech last year and I had a small part in ‘The Twilight Zone’ because (Mr. Allen) knew I wanted to audition for Danny Zuko.”
Without pinpointing what it is about the role that prompted Kevyn to step into the spotlight, he said, “Danny is this cool guy who is motivated to look macho in front of his friends. But around Sandy, he ends up being the lovable guy he wants to be for her. Just like any other guy, when he’s around the girl he likes, he gets flustered and his tongue goes bluh. But around the guys and his Burger Boys (the Greasers), he wants to lead the pack.”
Kevyn added: “I try to portray how guys, even the Danny Zuko, turn into dorks around girls. But when we’re around friends, we try to be cooler than we are.”
Similarly, senior Zoe Trudeau embraces her inner goofiness as Jan, the Pink Lady (think Brusha Brusha Brusha). “I’m a senior and I’ve done theater at La Jolla High School since freshman year,” she said.
“I wanted to have one last big production for my legacy and I think this is the perfect show for that. It’s fun, goofy, very happy-go-lucky. Some of the issues translate really well, but I don’t like that Sandy thinks she has to change herself to get Danny to like her, but the friendships are relate-able. The kids are all tight-knit and they work together really well. Just like our cast. We have great chemistry. We’ve been working on this show for a while and it reads on stage that we are all friends and are having fun in real life.”
IF YOU GO: “Grease” is on stage 7 p.m. Feb. 15, 22, 23 and 24, with pay-what-you-can performance 2:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Parker Auditorium of La Jolla High School, 750 Nautilus St. $15 general admission, $10 students and seniors. Tickets at the door or ljhstheatre.com