DOWNEY - Working with the book, music, and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, 13 West Middle School teachers performed "Grease" last Friday before a packed house that shelled out $5 apiece.The movie version starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The venue: the large West cafeteria. Holders of VIP tickets, which cost more (a lot more!), entitled them to front row seats. This was for these well-endowed souls a decided plus, as the sound system didn't work during the musical's initial stages. The fundraiser was produced by West Drama, the school's drama program, which is enjoying a bit of a run. Even as this issue of the Patriot went to press, West Drama, under the regular direction of teacher Andrea Procter (who herself played Sandy, the female lead role played by Newton-John) had to schedule a command performance for yesterday, to accommodate popular demand. Next Wednesday and Thursday (June 10 and 11), it presents its regular student production of "The Glass Slipper." It was Procter who, along with fellow teacher Marlene Camacho (who also had a significant singing role in the production) conceived of the possibility of the fundraiser; while in the middle of a weight lifting class, the instructor started playing music from "Grease," and one thing led to another. According to teacher Mary Jo Enyeart, the cast members - identified in the program, in the order of their appearance, as Enyeart, (Jan), Ms. Dayhoff (Marty), Mrs. Duncan (Suzie), Ms. Camacho (Rizzo), Mr. Kaplinsky (Doody), Mr. Holmes (Roger), Mr. Davis (Kenickie), Mr. Del Rio (Sonny), Mrs. Bow (Mrs. Lynch), Ms. Davis (Frenchy), Ms. Procter (Sandy), Mrs. Shields (Patty), and Mr. Legaspi (Danny - John Travolta's role) - gave up a lot of their free time to practice their roles for "Grease." Three weeks before the show, they devoted 20 hours after school to rehearse in earnest, even doing their own costumes. What the 13 intrepid teacher-actors lacked in professional polish, they made up in energy and spunk and the spirit of fun-all for the benefit of Drama West (for scripts, sets, royalties, etc.) and therefore its drama students. The Friday show netted $2,800. Also worthy of mention was the West Middle School jazz band, who performed wonderfully under the direction of Todd Miller.
********** Published: June 5, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 7