When I was little, the movie “Grease” was one of my favorites. What I didn’t know back then was that the movie about 1950s high-schoolers exploring relationships, rebellion and all of the ups and downs that go with living on that blurry edge between teenager and adult was based on a play that first came out in 1971, and the film version starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John followed in 1978. After that, “Grease 2” hit movie theaters, the musical was still being performed and there was even a live production aired on television last year.
And now it will be staged in town, by Durango High School’s Troupe 1096, led by Director Ben Mattson. In his seventh production with the troupe, Mattson guides a cast of 32 through the songs and dances “Grease” fans have come to love.
“It’s been really fun – I’ve had the most fun directing this show than probably the other ones,” Mattson said. “There have been some challenges – we’re trying to incorporate new things that we haven’t worked with before, and so they’re just kind of giving us unforeseen hoops to jump through.”
And you can’t have “Grease” without star-crossed lovers Danny and Sandy, played here by senior Curtis Salinger and junior Sophie Maja Hughes.
Salinger, a longtime troupe member, said being in “Grease” has given him the chance to do something different on stage.
“Personally, I love the dancing,” he said. “In my high school career, throughout my show career, I haven’t done many dance shows. I did a lot of dance training over the summer at Carnegie-Melon, and that was fun.”
For Hughes, taking on the challenge of Sandy is an opportunity she’s grateful for. “I’ve had lead roles as a kid in small theater programs, but this is my first lead role in a high school production.”
“Grease! The Musical” will run through Nov. 17. And at $15 a ticket, it’s a pretty good deal, Mattson said. “It is when it comes to theater. It’s not a whole lot more expensive than a movie to come and support people who are really honing their craft.
“It’s awesome what these kids can do.”