About Time Productions production of Grease features young and talented local actors
A group of 23 students between the ages of 12 and 18 are performing the classic musical Grease at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre.
Grease is a romantic musical set in the fifties. Danny Zuko has a summer fling with Sandy Olsson not realizing that they would be attending the same school come the Fall. The musical consists of eighteen songs, and almost every song involves dance.
The young actors are from Camrose, Wetaskiwin, Forestburg and Daysland. The set for the show was designed by Beyata Hackborn, a former actor of About Time Productions and a second year student at the University of Alberta.
“She is just outstanding,” said Cathie Johnson, the founder of About Time Productions and director of Grease. “It is different from any Grease I think you would have ever seen.”
The About Time Productions theatre company is exclusively youth, which makes the shows unique and showcases young local talent.
“Kids are like sponges they are so eager to learn that you can just teach them so much,” said Johnson. “I can not believe they are kids, we expect it to just be ‘oh it is kids theatre,” not realizing that kids are pretty extraordinary.”
The production will not be the exact broadway version as it has been edited to be school age appropriate.
“It does not lose any of it’s charm at all,” said Johnson. “It just cleans up some of the words.”
Johnson created the theatre company after graduating from the Augustana Drama program. Johnson has been working with a group of teenagers from Camrose and the surrounding areas since September to put together this production of Grease.
Johnson says she is very passionate about encouraging youth to pursue acting and her greatest pleasure of shows is always working with kids and seeing them learn and grow. Grease has been no exception.
“Often we get such shy kids and they always come alive and they grow,” said Johnson. “Some of the actors are taking lessons and some of them are just naturally gifted.”
She says she is thrilled to, for the first time in her twelve years of directing musicals, have a four-part male harmony. She enjoys watching Danny sing the solo “Alone at the Drive-In Movie” as the rest of the actors turn into a doo-wop group.
Grease has made students fall in love with musicals and stage performance, says Johnson, adding that it has exposed them to the thrill of stepping onto a stage in front of an audience.
“The kids love performing, there is no doubt about it,” said Johnson. “There is no feeling like getting in front of a live audience and that is what brings them back every year.”
About Time Productions was created to attend to the need for children’s theatre and has managed to put on twelve musicals since they began in 2005. Grease has been yet another adventure of teaching theatre and inspiring talented young actors.
“They are learning about how to become actors, so they learn what goes into a character and how to dissect their script,” said Johnson. “We get deeper into doing a musical than just doing a musical.”
After the show the audience will have a chance to meet the cast in the lobby and take pictures, since it is such a well-loved production.
There will also be tickets sold on a raffle basket worth over five hundred dollars and a photobooth. Audience members are encouraged to wear fifties attire to the show in order to have the chance to win a substantial gift basket, including cell phone chargers, movie tickets, and a booster juice gift certificate.
The shows times are March 3-4 and 7-8 at 7 p.m. and March 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors and $15 for children. For additional information, contact the Box Office at 780-608-2922 or visit camroselive.ca.