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A look back at the year 1935

Grease is the word at Heritage Hall! The Johnson County High School Players hand jived their way into the hearts of audiences all last weekend and they’re set to do it all again on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m.
New JCHS Players’ Director Michael Eggers dedicated every performance of Grease to former director Lisa Zeggert. Though Zeggert is missed by both students and staff, Eggers did a phenomenal job directing this production. Eggers enthusiasm for the program and his students was easily witnessed through the tireless efforts he made to ensure the production was a success and his efforts certainly weren’t fruitless.
The ultra cool Danny Zuko was played by the strikingly talented Morgan Eggers. Though Eggers has only been a part of the JCHS Players for two years, he has many large productions under his belt including The Wizard of Oz, High School Musical and A Christmas Carol. Morgan is both a powerful vocalist and a captivating performer – it’s easy to see why he was the clear choice to play the smooth talking high school King, Danny Zuko.

The role of Sandy Dumbrowski or more commonly known as Sandra Dee, was acted by Janae Eshelman. Janae is a seasoned stage veteran and utilizing her skills and her wealth of experience, Janae was able to entrance audiences with her honey toned vocals and innocent retorts. In short – Janae gave audiences chills and they’re multiplying because she’s electrifying.
Karley Kirsch was cast in the role of the no nonsense Betty Rizzo or simply “Rizzo” for short for someone as sassy as she needn’t be troubled by the formality of first names. Kirsch was fabulous as Rizzo, portraying just the right amount of venom but also allowing audiences to see the softer side of the woman within that deeply cares for those she loves.
Ryan Carroll, who is celebrating his third year as a part of the JCHS theatre program, played the role of Kenickie. Carroll was a genius cast as the tough guy with a heart of gold and he didn’t miss a beat as his former hunk of junk was transformed into “Grease Lightening” in an epic song and dance scene.
The rest of the “Pink Ladies” were acted by Abigail Arnett (Jan), Anna Cratch (Marty) and Marly Conder (Frenchie). The ladies were absolutely hysterical in their respective roles. Arnett was rarely witnessed without a Twinkie in hand, Cratch was perfectly coiffed and painted as the vain but enduring Marty and Conder brought to the role of Frenchie all the eccentricities expected of the “Beauty School Dropout.” Most notably, the ladies possessed tremendous chemistry on stage and were easily one of the most enjoyable parts of the production.
The remaining “T-Birds” were played by Gerald Seaberg (Doody), Connor Nowak (Roger) and Evan Hammons (Sonny LaTierri). The guys were simply electric on stage. Seaberg is always a crowd favorite and his role in Grease was no different. Nowak and Hammons only added to the hilarity of Seaberg through their reactions and timely retorts. The musical scenes that focused on the guys stole the show and there is one epic dance move performed by the T-Birds that you simply must see to believe for it defies explanation.
Perhaps most impressive about the production was the level of talent contained in even the supporting roles. It seems as though each young actor and actress truly took ownership of their respective roles and ran with it. Amber Laws shouted her way through unruly students as Miss Lynch, Courtney Stout gave new definition to the word ‘square’ as Parry Simcox and her male counterpart Eugene Florczyk (Evan Bauguess) was always good for a laugh. Travis Forrester as Vince Fontaine was priceless and Nate Plyler’s performances as both Johnny Casino and Teen Angel were absolutely sensational. Finally, Fernanda Flores, who also helped back stage, was excellent as the fiery but odd Cha-Cha DeGregorio.
The chorus for the JCHS production of Grease included, Andrew Matherly, Haley Brown, Sydney Manuel, Courtney Brooks, Mackenzie Leonard, Sydney Snyder, Syndi Banner, Nora Parker, Hallie Walters, Valerie Parker and Naomi King. The backstage crew consists of Josie Ward, Fernanda Flores and Carlos Valladares. Lights and sound were provided by Bob Morrison and Chase McGlamery and the programs were designed and constructed by Daniel Newton, Austin Trivette and Kaleb Dishman.
Though the JCHS Players will say goodbye to many senior students this year including, Morgan Eggers, Ryan Carroll, Evan Bauguess, Travis Forrester, Evan Hammons, Naomi King, Karley Kirsch, Nate Plyler and Gerald Seaberg – it’s clear that the program is dedicated to making a quality theatre experience available to students in Johnson County for years to come.
Be sure to catch Grease in its final weekend at Heritage Hall on May 8 or 9 with both performances taking place at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or at the box office. Visit www.heritagehalltheatre.org for more information and come out and support the talented youth of Johnson County.