Grease cast charms Stettler crowds

Wildcat Theatre’s production of Grease delighted Stettler audiences with five sold-out performances last week.

High school students Mark Forrester and Katie Monaghan portray Danny and Sandy in Wildcat Theatre’s production of Grease for five performances last weekend at the Stettler Performing Arts Centre.

Wildcat Theatre’s production of Grease delighted Stettler audiences with five sold-out performances last week.

A cast of 66 students from William E. Hay Composite High School did an admirable job of recreating the timeless classic.

The high-energy production, with its impressive set, kept spectators captivated and wanting more.

“My students tackled this project like pros,” said director Darren Fleischhacker.

“The great thing about putting on a show like this is that it attracted students from all different backgrounds and brought them all together to do something amazing. I had cast members with loads of experience in performance and I had students with no experience — in the end, they all worked together fabulously.”

The production was essentially student-run. Students created the set and performed the music, acting, singing and dance routines.

“All the performers did so well,” said Stettler’s Joan Baltimore, who attended the performance twice.

“I believe their participation is a great confidence-booster and will give them the courage to do things again.”

Lead actors Mark Forrester and Katie Monaghan played the parts of Danny and Sandy superbly.

Forrester, 17, is a Grade 12 student, but it was his debut on stage. Just the same, he appeared to be comfortable in an acting role.

Monaghan, 15, is a Grade 10 student who has had considerable singing experience — that was evident in her performance — but Grease was her acting debut.

The supporting cast also did a commendable job.

Each student had time in the spotlight, with some scene-stealing moments.

Fifteen-year-old Meghan LaRose’s experience in theatre and singing didn’t go unnoticed and allowed her to nail her character — Rizzo.

Aaryn Lynham, Shayla Nietz and Amy Stratulate were convincing in their “Pink Ladies” roles.

Not to be outdone, Austin Cherewko, Stefan du Toit, Taylor Elliot and Justin Fleischhacker showed their acting ability and made their “T-Bird” characters believable.

Cast members Darby Austin, Michael Burkinshaw, Kasen Fraser, Shea Heatherinton, Kyla Steinwand, Maverick Wilford and Courtney Wingie did justice to their individual characters.

The music, chorus and peppy dance routines enhanced the performance.

“Taking on such a big project is always a gamble,” Darren Fleischhacker said. “Watching my students’ confidence grow, blossom and shine is the payoff.”

If there were flaws, they went largely unnoticed as the audience embraced the energy of the cast and responded by spontaneous clapping, laughter and a final standing ovation.

“I am so proud of our whole ensemble,” Fleischhacker said. “I am so fortunate to be a drama teacher — I get to make memories.

“I am also very fortunate to be surrounded by great colleagues who helped make this production so successful — especially Eric Rahn for his musical leadership, Ms. Rhonda for her choreography and Pat Hanson for her costume design.”

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