It’s Electrifying: ‘Grease’ takes center stage in Madison

It’s Electrifying: ‘Grease’ takes center stage in Madison


Fans hopelessly devoted to the musical “Grease” will find the Center Players Community Theatre’s current production is the one that you want to see.

Join the cool kids at Rydell High School at Madison Square Center for the Arts, 2103 Main Street, June 6-9 and 13-16 for a nostalgic blast from the 1950s filled with electrifying songs and high-energy dancing. “Grease: School Edition” on stage offers all the fun and frivolity of the 1978 movie classic. 

“It’s one of those shows you’ve got to see, and the music is so infectious,” co-director Mandy Hackman said. “It’s a fun watch even if you’ve seen the movie multiple times.”

The cast of high school and college students is very talented, said Hackman, who played Jan in the Madison Central High production of “Grease” in 2005. “There are so many newcomers to Center Players in this cast, but they’ve done Summer Arts Camp and show choirs at their schools.”

Because of their show choir experience, choreographer Bradley Davis said  the cast is a unique group of actors, singers and dancers.  “This is high energy. It’s pretty fast paced.

“The cast is really, really talented. They are basically their characters in real life, and you can understand how much fun they’re having. I’ve letting them showcase their abilities,” Davis said.

Connie Black, who plays English teacher Miss Lynch, is the only adult in the show. “Being around all these kids, it’s high energy.”  Although Black directed a version of the musical for Pillow Academy years ago, she has never played a character in the show. “I’m the authority figure,” she said.

Playing Marty, one of the Pink Ladies, is Peyton Anderson who will be a freshman at Rosa Scott in the fall.  “This show is really fun, and the people in it are awesome. Being in the show gives you a sense of community. This is my biggest role yet so it’s fun to experiment,” said Anderson, whose song in the show is “Freddy, My Love.”

So many of the songs will strike a chord from “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee,” “Summer Nights,” Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “You’re the One that I Want,” and “Grease” to name a few. 

“We’re pretty sure a sing-a-long is going to happen,” Hackman said about audience members who can’t help themselves from joining in on their favorite songs.

What would “Grease” be without “Greased Lightnin’”? There will be a real car on stage as the song “Greased Lightnin’” and high-octane dancing ensues.

The curtain rises on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30. Tickets can be purchased (cash or credit) at the door starting 30 minutes before show time -- $15 for adult general admission and $12 for students/seniors. Tickets are also available online before the show at 

The ‘50s fun continues for the audience with a photo booth for taking selfies and a mini soda fountain joining the usual concession stand. “With the photo booth and its 50s theme, you get the full experience when you get through the door,” producer/assistant director Megan Mayhan said.

For $5 each, ice cream sundaes (vanilla with sprinkles, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry on top), Coke floats and Black Cows (root beer, vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry) will tantalize the audience’s tastebuds.

Cast members represent 14 different high schools and colleges: Tri-County Academy, Clinton High, Rosa Scott, Madison Central, Jackson Academy, Grenada High, Brandon High, Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Germantown High, Pearl High, Belhaven University, Holmes Community College, the University of Mississippi and Southwest Missouri State University.

Representing the best of Rydell High School are: Omari Daniels as Danny Zuko; Lynley Cox as Sandy Dumbrowski; Zyon McDowell as Kenickie; Katy Mayhan as Betty Rizzo; Malik Ealey as Roger; Ella Joyner as Jan; Corey Daniels as Doody; Dakota Williams as Frenchy, Ben Wightman as Sonny; Peyton Anderson as Marty; Miles Agent as Eugene Florczyk; Campbell Haindel as Patty Simcox; Connie Black as Miss Lynch; Lucy Ledford as Cha-Cha DiGregorio; Kyle Austin as Johnny Casino; Genevieve Moore as Teen Angel; Benton Donahue as Vince Fontaine; Chad Bynum, Jillian Dykes, Cara Gray, Kyler Pittman, Case Smith and Nora Werne as the dance ensemble; Campbell Browning and Meredith Odom as The Gamblers ; and  Danny Coulter, Addison Easterling, Cohen Mader, Amy Page, Conner Quinn, Nora Kate Robinson, Lilly Temple and Elizabeth Yeager as the Rydell High ensemble.

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