‘Grease’ now the word at FMS
The 1971 hit “Grease,” written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, features high school students of fictional Rydell High School, which was based on William Howard Taft High School in Chicago. FMS’ eighth-graders Audrey Rust and Jake Harris will portray lead characters, Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko, in the school production.
“It’s great,” Jake said about playing the part of Danny. “Miss (Kimberly) Mink (choral music/musical theater teacher) convinced me to try out for it. At first I was stage crew, so I wasn’t planning to be in the cast.”
About Danny, Jake said, “I like him. When I first figured out I would be playing him, I watched the movie (from 1978, starring John Travolta as Danny and Olivia Newton John as Sandy) just to see what he’s like, and I really feel I can connect with him. I would say we’re both pretty cool guys. We’re good with ladies, and we have a lot of friends.”
“It’s actually so much fun,” Audrey said about playing Sandy. “I love playing (the role) with Jake because he’s very good at being Danny, and I’m just very excited to do it all.”
Aside from the fun, she said the production also is “nerve-wracking” because they have to perform in front of their peers before the public performance.
Audrey remembered being a fifth-grader playing Peter Pan, so she tried out for “Grease” because she wanted to see if she still liked theater.
FMS’s show is open to the public, and tickets are $5 each at the door. Members of the show and their families may purchase tickets in advance by contacting Mink.
“We have 94 kids in this class,” the teacher said. “We try to make sure that parents have an opportunity to get here at least one night of the show.”
“’Grease’” is a musical I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” Mink added. “We do musical theater here a little differently. I like student-led productions.
“We try to involve as many kids as possible on stage, so I try to pick a show that is going to feature the most amount of kids. ’Grease’ is one that’s got a great ensemble cast.”
Mink estimated “about 170 kids applied to get into the class. “It’s a select class, like an honors-level class, at the middle school level.
“We are the only middle school in Knox County that offers musical theater as a class. We’re really proud of that, too, that we get to give them that experience during their school day.” We get to see them in a whole different light.”
“My end goal, for musical theater at the middle school level, is that they come back and have a positive memory of it,” she said. “Maybe, out of this group, we see a chunk of them continue at the high school.”