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Grease at Don Russell Performing Arts Centre

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Slick musical proves Grease is the word
Grease, musical, performing arts, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin', You're The One That I Want, Art in Motion Theatre Company, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, T-Birds, Pink Ladies
Grease features Michaela Sheehy, left, as Sandy and Jackson Britza as Danny. Picture: Montanna Tickner


Take a trip back in time to Rydell High and get ready for some summer loving and greased lightning this July. The Art in Motion Theatre Company is presenting the ever-popular musical Grease at the Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, directed by Lys Tickner.

Set in 1959, Grease follows the senior year of 10 teenagers as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values and love. At the heart of the story is the romance between gangster Danny Zuko and sweet new girl Sandy Dumbrowski – after a secret summer affair, their chance of continuing love is more complicated now they're back at school.

Grease, musical, performing arts, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin', You're The One That I Want, Art in Motion Theatre Company, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, T-Birds, Pink Ladies
The cast of Grease are ready to tell you more this July. Picture: Montanna Tickner

"Most people will have, at some point, in their lives seen the 1978 movie based on the musical," Lys said. "The main difference with the musical is that Sandy is not from Australia – but it still has all the popular tunes that everyone can bop along to.

"The challenge with this show is to do something different while maintaining the integrity of the original script and score. Grease has been done many times so you don't want to just end up with another version of the same thing.

Grease, musical, performing arts, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin', You're The One That I Want, Art in Motion Theatre Company, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, T-Birds, Pink Ladies
Wyatt Gordon, left, Owen Davis, Charlie Darlington, Jackson Britza and Liam Tickner are the T-Birds. Picture: Montanna Tickner

"When people come to see Grease, they often have the movie front of mind so it's important to maintain a relevance to the film while having one or two moments in the show that are completely unique to this production."

A member of Roleystone Theatre since 1989, Lys directed her first play – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – as a 20-year-old in 1993. She has gone on to direct Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Little Shop of Horrors, High School Musical and The Snow Queen and has been involved in a plethora of productions, either singing, dancing, acting or stage-managing.

Grease, musical, performing arts, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin', You're The One That I Want, Art in Motion Theatre Company, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, T-Birds, Pink Ladies
Michaela Sheehy and Jackson Britza play lovebirds Sandy and Danny. Picture: Montanna Tickner


In 2018, Lys established the Art in Motion Theatre Company with a group of like-minded people who wanted to put the fun back into theatre. "I was actually in the 1995 production of Grease produced by Roleystone Theatre, playing Patty," she said. "Like the rest of the world, I just love the show."

Grease, musical, performing arts, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin', You're The One That I Want, Art in Motion Theatre Company, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, T-Birds, Pink Ladies
Rizzo (Erin Craddock, left) and Kenickie (Owen Davis) in Grease. Picture: Montanna Tickner


Erin Craddock plays Betty Rizzo, leader of the Pink Ladies. "She adamantly goes against what's expected of good teenage girls, in favour of what she wants to do," she said.

"Rizzo is unapologetic about it and openly resents anyone she sees conforming to those expectations. She has a sexiness and powerful confidence about her that isn't necessarily part of my normal dorky personality, so finding a way to channel that without feeling like an idiot is a big challenge."

Grease, musical, performing arts, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin', You're The One That I Want, Art in Motion Theatre Company, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, T-Birds, Pink Ladies
Megan West, left, Erin Craddock, Jayden Payne and Stacey Hollings are the Pink Ladies in Grease. Picture: Montanna Tickner


Performing since 2013, Erin has mainly appeared with Stirling, Playlovers, Melville and Midnite Youth Theatres and the Koorliny Arts Centre. Earlier this year, she was named best supporting actress at the annual Finley Awards for her role in the musical Urinetown.

"I've loved Grease since first seeing the movie when I was about 10 – it's a classic and I always wanted to be Rizzo!" Erin said. "As a kid you either want to be Sandy or Rizzo, kind of like salt or pepper."

Grease, musical, performing arts, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin', You're The One That I Want, Art in Motion Theatre Company, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, T-Birds, Pink Ladies
Grease features Charlie Darlington, left, as Doody and Stacey Hollings as Frenchy. Picture: Montanna Tickner


Grease plays at 8pm July 4, 5 and 6; 2pm July 6 and 5pm July 7. Tickets are $30, $25 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/BBZZD. The 2pm performance on July 6 is a fancy dress sing-a-long show with audience members encouraged to dress up in their favourite Grease outfits and join in with the popular songs.

The Don Russell Performing Arts Centre is at Lot 13, Murdoch Road, Thornlie.

Grease, musical, performing arts, Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin', You're The One That I Want, Art in Motion Theatre Company, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, T-Birds, Pink Ladies
Sonny (Wyatt Gordon, left) may be keen but Marty (Jayden Payne) is not so sure. Picture: Montanna Tickner
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Why? The enduring appeal of Grease is multigenerational, thanks to its catchy tunes, Sandy’s innocence, Danny’s charm and different high school factions, which somehow all combine to make it timeless.
When: 8pm July 4, 5 & 6; 2pm July 6 & 5pm July 7
Where: Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Lot 13, Murdoch Road, Thornlie
Cost: $30, $25 concession
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