Putting on a show - Grease musical set for Friday

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By Margaret McKinney
Highlands University

The New Mexico Highlands University HU Singers present a production of the popular musical Grease at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Ilfeld Auditorium.

Grease is set in 1959 in a fictional working class U.S. high school, following the lives of the students as they navigate both the dramatic and lighthearted complexities of young love.

The crowd-pleasing musical score relies on the early influences of rock and roll.

Originally a successful Broadway musical with one of the longest runs in history, Grease gained a new following in 1978 when it was a box office smash hit film featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

Andre García-Nuthmann, director of the Highlands University’s choral and vocal program, is the musical director for Grease and Don Evans, theatre and speech instructor, is the artistic director.

“It was very exciting putting this Grease show together,” García-Nuthmann said. “We have an amazing cast. Not only are they wonderful singers, they’re great actors and really good dancers. They’ve been a joy to work with and I’m very proud of them.”

García-Nuthmann added that he hopes the Las Vegas audience will turn out to support the music students.

Alto Autumn Woods plays the leading female role of Sandy, performing favorites like Hopelessly Devoted. Tenor Michael Rascon leads as Danny, harmonizing with Woods for the toe-tapping Summer Nights, and more.

Some other vocal highlights include baritone Daniel Torres as Johnny singing Hand Jive; soprano Karliz de Marco as Rizzo singing Look at Me - I’m Sandra Dee; mezzo soprano Aubrey Blau as Marty, singing Freddy My Love; and tenor Ron Martínez as Doody singing Those Magic Moments.

The full cast will join forces to perform songs like We Go Together.

The band for the production features García-Nuthmann at piano, music professor Edward Harrington at bass, music student Quintin Leger at lead guitar, and community members Bruce Holmes on saxophone and Michael Campbell on drums.

Evans designed the sets, with colorful locations like the school cafeteria and gym, a drive-in movie, the Burger Palace, a street corner, and a pajama party taking center stage.

Original choreography and costumes will enliven the performance.

All tickets for Grease are $5. Highlands University students with valid IDs are free.