On stage: Students at Vicksburg High School are set to perform ‘Grease’

Published 7:09 am Sunday, March 17, 2024

When “Grease” was released in 1978 by Paramount Pictures, the musical romantic comedy film became an instant hit. It’s now 46 years later and Vicksburg High School has decided to take on the entertaining musical and is set to perform it next weekend on the VHS stage

Set in the 1950s, “Grease” is a story of two love-struck teenagers — Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski — who meet at the beach during summer vacation.

When the season ends, the couple feels certain it will be the last of their “Summer Nights” together. But they are both surprised when they unexpectedly meet up again after Sandy’s family moves from Australia and she becomes a student at Rydell High,
where Danny attends school.

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VHS choral director Erika Wheeler said she chose to take on this iconic musical after a student vote was held at the end of the last school year.

“Students in the department were allowed to vote,” Wheeler said, from five choices they were given, which included “Footloose.” But “Grease” won out as the number one choice of the students.

The VHS cast of “Grease” consists of 27 members and practice for the musical began in January.

Wheeler said two students from River City Early College will be taking on the lead roles: Alyssa Kindhart will be playing Sandy and Tirosky Hill will be taking on the part of Danny.

“I chose them for the two leading roles because they fully embodied their characters and sold their auditions,” Wheeler said. “Tirosky is a ball of energy and gives off the Danny Zuko flare more and more each time we rehearse. Alyssa possesses the light-
hearted feel of Sandy, but she is a total powerhouse.”

In addition to “Summer Nights,” the musical hosts a bevy of entertaining songs, some of which are award-winning. “Hopelessly Devoted to You” by John Farrar, was named the Best Original Song by the Academy Awards.

Barry Gibb’s music and lyrics for “Grease” won a Golden Globe along with Farrar’s “You’re the One That I Want” as the Best Original Song – Motion Picture.

As a choral director, singing typically tops a musical performance as the favorite aspect, but Wheeler said, for her, it has been both the singing and choreography combined.

“My favorite aspect of the musical has been seeing the choreography and music come together. It’s always the first thing we begin to work on, and the students are always eager to execute the ‘choralography,’ as we call it,” she said.

As with other local high school musical directors, Wheeler said she sees advantages for students who choose to take part in high school musicals.

“Students who participate in musicals gain exposure to so many different avenues of show business and they gain a major sense of responsibility,” she said. “Whether it be through learning and memorizing lines, learning to build, assemble, and design sets or working on sound and light production, they learn how to work together as a team. And for many of them who are interested in becoming music or theatre majors, they get a sense of what being a part of an actual musical theatre production is like because I try to run the theatre just as a real company would.”

The VHS production of “Grease” will be offered at 7 p.m. March 22 and 23 at the school auditorium, 3701 Drummond Street. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door.


About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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