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Dominion High School brings the ‘50s to life

Elizabeth Storey, a student at Osbourn High School, reviews Dominion High School’s production of “Grease” as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

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Rachel Weber, Stephanie Booth, Inessa Oelschlager, Lyla Byers and Kaitlyn Salazar from Dominion High School. (Photo by Amy Young)

Dominion High School’s presentation of “Grease” captured the essence of adolescent life: the cliques, the importance of high school reputations and the thrills of youth. Although it is set in the 1950s, this 1972 Broadway classic by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey continues to transcend time with its endless quips and lively songs.

When docile and sweet Sandy Dumbrowski (Rachel Weber) arrives as the new girl at Rydell High, she is still stuck on her summer sweetheart, Danny Zuko (Erik Abrahamsen), who just happens to be a senior at Rydell and the leader of the tough- skinned Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds disapprove of Sandy’s wholesomeness, so Danny denies their relationship. In the meantime, Sandy begins associating with the Thunderbirds’ female equivalent, the Pink Ladies, headed by Rizzo (Inessa Oelschlager). As the Thunderbirds and Pink Ladies interact throughout the school year, they learn about the quirkiness of love and friendship.

Oelschlager, as Rizzo, brought a fun edge to her character—a refreshing sassiness that never failed to engage the audience. Her vocals proved to be as strong as her character, solidifying Oelschlager’s powerful performance.

Another member of the Pink Ladies, Jan (Stephanie Booth), stood out with her witty deliveries and perfect diction. Booth’s affected whine became increasingly endearing with every line, and it made her an audience favorite. Sonny LaTierri (Ty Sheedlo) of the Thunderbirds was hilarious with his subtle mannerisms. Whether being turned town by Rizzo or panicking before a fight, Sheedlo brought a hysterical contrast to his tough-guy image. Another Thunderbird, Roger (Sam Allen), also impressed the audience with his mastery of his character, both physically and vocally.

The ensemble’s scenes proved to be the highlight of the show, especially during the performance of “We Go Together,” where the entire cast performed. Despite a few lackluster scenes, the cast managed to charm and engage the audience throughout most of the performance.

The set was designed with basic walls that effortlessly transformed the stage from a bedroom to a high school. The simplicity of the set allowed the audience’s focus to remain on the characters and plot. Despite a few sound issues, the Dominion’s cast did not seem to get distracted, and they performed through the glitches without hesitation.

By Elizabeth Storey, Posted by Mario Iván Oña  |  February 24, 2010; 3:09 PM ET
 | Tags: Cappies 2010  
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