DENVILLE, NJ – Valleyview Middle School Players presented the musical Grease in a packed auditorium of more than 520 people at Valleyview Middle School for three consecutive nights in Denville, New Jersey, on May 16-18.
The cast and ensemble of more than 60 students deftly brought to life the iconic story and memorable “misfits” of Rydell High School. The Rydell main characters included Sandy Olsen, played by eighth grader Ana Gomez; Danny Zuko, portrayed by eighth grader Cal Murphy; Betty Rizzo, performed by eighth grader Bridget Jacobus; and Kenickie played by eighth grader Sebastian Mendoza. Originated on Broadway in 1971 and made popular by the 1978 film version starring Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and Stockard Channing, Grease centers on the romantic relationship between Sandy and Danny and their friendships with the Pink Ladies and the T-birds, respectively, during their challenging senior year of high school in 1958-59.
Social studies teacher, Jennifer Faliveno, directed and choreographed the musical, which features its well-known soundtrack classics like “Grease Is the Word,” “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightning,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Beauty School Dropout” and “You’re the One That I Want.” Faliveno has directed the Valleyview spring theatrical production for the last 16 or so years.
The Valleyview Middle School Players began rehearsing the end of February for approximately 12 hours per week. While most of the lead actors have performed in prior Valleyview musicals, three of the T-birds and one of the Pink Ladies were new to the stage, according to Faliveno.
“The Valleyview musical has become a tradition which showcases and honors the talents of our children while growing a lover for the arts. This program has become so special thanks to the amazing spirit of community found in Denville,” expressed Faliveno in her written expression of thanks. “For years the tradition has grown in the hands of so many willing parents, staff members, students, alumni, families, friends and businesses,” she continued. “On these nights, we celebrate the success of our children supported by the community we love.”
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