VALLEY – It’s taken months of commitment, hours of energy and a lot of dedication but the students at Redcliff Middle School are ready to transform.
About 70 students will take to the stage this week to perform Grease for School in front of their peers, families and friends.
“These students, some of them are so committed,” said Jeff Lynds, the school’s vice-principal and co-director with Nicole McKinnon on the production. “This is taking so much time but a lot of them are managing other activities – band, the musical, other activities outside of school … they are doing really well.”
Preparation for the production began in October, and students have been having a lot of fun, said Lynds.
“It’s fun and exciting. They know the music already. These kids can identify with the story, and likely most of the parents and even grandparents can as well,” he added. “It’s upbeat and the kids are having a lot of fun with the dances. It’s incredible to see them remembering the lines and the dance moves.”
While it’s been fun and games for the most part, the students have had a few challenges to overcome during the year.
“We had to tackle storm days, and our lead male was out sick for three weeks, so they’ve put a lot into this,” said Lynds.
“We really do have some budding young actors here,” said Lynds, adding the school staff has also put in a lot of time and effort from make up to costumes, to lighting and technical aspects.
“There is such a huge team effort from the staff as well, and that’s one of the biggest things we stress to the students – the team effort – and they see that so clearly with this musical.”
The storyline follows a similar path to the popular movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. There are, however, some aspects – such as Rizzo’s pregnancy scare – that have been removed.
“It is for more of a general audience now,” said the co-director, adding the lewd behaviour is also omitted from the script.
During the past eight years, students at the school have been performing in a production, such as 101 Dalmations, High School Musical, and Annie, just to name a few.
“Every year, we put something new on and it seems to get more complicated each year,” said Lynds. “I think this is the biggest undertaking these students have tackled.”
Along with Lynds and McKinnon, Brittany Garvie and Natalie Sampson created the choreography for the musical, and Ann Rutledge put together the costumes.
“She is the best scavengers of deals I have seen,” said Lynds, adding the costumes she’s created have been key to the production.
“Having those costumes is when things really came to life. You could see the confidence develop when the students put those costumes on.”
The students are performing for their first live audience this week in front of students. There are two public performances scheduled – Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m.; doors open at 6. Admission is $5 per person at the door.
Employees with Scotiabank will be on hand and the business is set to match any money raised at the door. The money will go into the musical fund, which helps provide something new, such as wireless microphones, each year.