Everybody rock: Bishop Stang theater to present 'Grease'

Apr 27, 2022

Grease is the word at Bishop Stang High.

This weekend, the school’s theater company will put on a production of the classic musical about 1950s greaser culture and teenage love — the first time the show has hit the Stang stage since the 1980s.

“The kids have been asking for ‘Grease’ for years,” said director and music/drama teacher Melissa Murphy-Leite. “It was time to resurrect this show.”

She added that this would be her final production she will oversee at Stang, as she’ll be moving to Tennessee following the end of the school year.

“It’s a bittersweet ending, but I couldn’t think of a better show to do,” Murphy-Leite said.

Set in 1958-59 at Rydell High School, the musical follows the hot-rodding "T-Birds" and the gum-snapping, bouffant-coiffed "Pink Ladies" as they navigate peer pressure and friendships.

Murphy-Leite said what she appreciates about this show is that it allows her students to easily grasp their characters since they are also teenagers.

The learning curve to it, she said, is having the students understand some of the 1950s phrases and the “innocence and simplicity of the era.”

“Of course, like any era, the 50s had a seedy underside,” Murphy-Leite said with a laugh.

She added that the show is also fitting for the school since Bishop Stang itself was built  in 1959.

“It’s very period,” Murphy-Leite said.

The outgoing director said she, along with her cast, are also happy to be able to do a show maskless again.

Last year, the school did an original play which revolved around the Spanish Flu pandemic titled “1918” where the students wore masks and kept socially distance while on stage.

While Murphy-Leite was proud to direct a show which took Covid-safety precautions, she said live theater is much better when people can see facial expressions and the nuances of the performers.

“It’s wonderful to get back to some degree of normalcy,” she said. 

Shows will be performed Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m.; Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, April 30 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Saturday matinee will consist of all the show’s understudies.

“That way they get their chance to shine,” Murphy-Leite said.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students/seniors and can be purchased at the door.