Grease is the word! Neuqua Theatre makes its triumphant return to live shows

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The Neuqua Theatre poster advertising the musical.

Ben LeGrand, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Another popular high school event returns to Neuqua as Neuqua Theatre returns for their first in-person musical since the pandemic. The theatre program has four showings of their rendition of “Grease,” showing at 7p from April 27 to April 31st and May 1, 2022 at 2pm. The cast, tech crew, chorus ensemble, pit band and everyone involved in the production have been at hard work for over two months building sets, choreographing dance routines, rehearsing lines and more to put this musical on. You can get tickets at the door, but they do sell out fast so online purchasing options are available at https://www.nvhstheatre.com/

 

Johnathan Pontarelli has run the Neuqua musical for 10 years and is excited as ever for this year’s production. “Grease is just fun, the energy is there, the tunes are super recognizable… it’s just a really talented cast, so there’s a lot to look forward to in the show.”

 

The show is full of colorful sets depicting the 1950s high school setting of the classic musical. The cast are decked out in old school varsity jackets and poodle skirts, and don’t forget the classic greaser hair. Of course, it wouldn’t be a production of Grease without Greased Lightning. Lead set designer Steve Fleming found the rental through a theater company in South Bend, Indiana, who lent the car out to Neuqua in April, with plenty of time to rehearse with it. 

“When it came in we were like ‘oh my god’ how are we going to do this? Get it in school? And not only that but turn it… but we made it work,” said Pontarelli. The impressive feat of incorporating the car will certainly impress and delight all viewers as much as the iconic scene itself. 

 

The theatre program, as many other Neuqua activities, is coming off of its own two year layoff. Their 2020 show was canceled due to the pandemic, and the 2021 show was online showing only. The rigors of show business have set in for the cast, with the renewal of a live audience adding a new weight for many of the cast. 

“For a lot of these seniors, they haven’t done a live musical since freshman year,” aired Pontarelli. “I remember saying to some of my directors ‘it seems like it’s taking me a long time to get my sea legs back under me… cause I haven’t done this in a while’… I think the kids are kind of like that too, but now we’re really hitting our stride and it’s been great and it’s been positive for everyone involved again.” 

 

The musical is yet another return to “normalcy” in the community (a sentence I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing), but it’s one Pontarelli encourages all to attend. 

“To have people want to come together and see something cause the thing with theater is no one show is ever the same, and that’s why I want people to have a good time and have fun. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.” 

Be sure to come out and support the show and appreciate the gift that is live theater.