The Northern Lights Junior Theatre is presenting an all-ages version of the popular musical Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The theatre is embracing a Halloween opening night with trick-or-treating before the show and door prizes for those who show up in 50's costumes
"It's exciting to open on Halloween," said J. Althea, who is producing and directing the play with Cinnamon Simpson. " I thought it would be risky, but we have an edgy enough production (that it could work)."
The play, which includes a cast of 37 kids from third grade up to sophomores in high school, is the "school version," edited to be appropriate for all ages. The original Broadway show was the longest-running show in history when it opened in 1971 and went on to become a successful film in 1978 starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
The play, which has been tamed down in most productions after the original, tells the story of Sandy, the new "good" girl at Rydell High, and Danny, the "greaser" who she has a summer romance with but who acts too cool for her when she shows up in town. High school cliques and trying to fit in are themes that have resonated with the cast, Simpson said.
"There are a lot of issues in this (like) peer pressure and teens fitting in," she said. "It's really relevant to their age group."
Putting on "Grease" has also been a time warp for the young performers, who initially puzzled over some of the references in the play, like the Brylcream the Greasers use to slick back their hair.
Those who remember the era of Brylcream, Greasers and poodle skirts will get a kick out of the spot-on performances by the cast, Althea said.
Many of performers in "Grease" have been in other Junior Theatre productions.
"Lots of the kids want to keep doing play after play," Althea said.
Nearly everyone can find something in the film to relate too, Simpson said, "whether we are a Greaser or an honor roll student or something in between."
Northern Lights Junior Theatre will present "Grease" Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. The production lasts about 90 minutes, including intermission.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and Kindergarten through high school students. Tickets are available at Hearthside or for $2 more at the door. Everyone is encouraged to dress up and trick or treat before the show from 5:30 - 7 p.m.