Arts & Entertainment

Union Talent Front and Center at Chatham Playhouse's Production of "Grease"

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Pranav Chawla, Lauren Laurino, Crystal Wright, Jason Yanto, Taylor Eccles, Cameron Brito, Richie Carchia, Grace Petersen, Kylie Francis, Ronin Ruste from the cast of “Grease” Credits: Howard Fischer
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CHATHAM, NJ – Union will be well represented in the Chatham Playhouse’s upcoming performance of “Grease”, the 96th season for the Chatham Community Players. 

Union High School’s James Mosser is the director and Jennifer Williams the choreographer.  "Grease is probably one of the most recognizable musicals of all time and it is so exciting to bring this show to life on the Chatham Players Stage,” said Mosser. 

“Our cast is full of fresh faced young actors and actresses that have such an infectious energy, its unlike anything that has been previously brought to the playhouse stage. We are so excited to bring this classic show into 2018 and share it with audiences."

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Also from Union are Ronin Ruste as Kenickie, Nico Vasquez as Eugene Florczyk, Cameron Brito as Doody, Evan Caban as Sonny, Crystal Wright as Marty, Leanne Laurino as Jan, Alyssa Carbonell as Patty Simcox, Alexis Orallo as Cha Cha, Jason Yanto as Johnny Casino, Scott Faranda as Vince Fontaine, Khadija Sankoh as Teen Angel, Patricia Fallon as Miss Lynch, Pranav Chawla as Male Ensemble and Rachel Mendoza as Female Ensemble.

Starring as Sandy Dumbrowski is Grace Petersen of Chatham and Richie Carchia from Short Hills will play Danny Zuko.  Other actors include Kylie Francis from Springfield as Betty Rizzo, Taylor Eccles from Colonia as Frenchy, Josh Bezerra from Mountainside as Rogerand and Anna Paskalides from Chatham as Female Ensemble.

“Grease” is the beloved rock n’ roll celebration of teen angst, fast cars and first loves – all set in the fabulous fifties. The show is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the film release, and features songs from the Tony Award-Nominated Broadway Show and hit movie, including “You’re the One That I Want”, “Grease is the Word”, “Summer Nights”, and “Greased Lightnin”.

Mosser and Williams work at Union High School with the Union High School Performing Arts Company, which has been nominated for over 126 prestigious Paper Mill Rising Star Awards, an event that recognizes excellence in high school theater, similar to the Tony Awards.  They have won 31 awards and currently hold the record for the most wins ever won by a single show for their 2015 production of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies winning nine awards.  

This past March, the UHSPAC was awarded a $10,000 grant from NBC and their new TV Drama "Rise", a show about a high school theatre department.  The UHSPAC was selected as the only school to receive a sneak preview of the show's premiere and were treated to a special visit from the show's stars. They were featured in various online publications including People Magazine.

Mosser directed and Williams choreographed the Chatham Players’ 2016 production of Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” for which they were both nominated for NJACT Perry Awards.

Rounding out Mosser’s talented production team, the Producer and Scenic Designer is Robert Lukasik, Production Coordinator is Maybelle Lincoln, Stage Manager is Caroline Courtney, Assistant Stage Manager is Sarah Court, Scenic Painting by Carol Saso, Costume Designers are Cheryl Galante, Mike Patierno and Christina Kirk, Lighting Designer is Richard Hennessy, Sound Designer is Joe DeVico and Props is Tish Lum.

“Grease is the Iconic musical that celebrates how the Fifties and the musicians of the time help changed the culture of America,” said Lukasik.  “The Fifties were also the beginnings of an era when teenagers controlled the music that they bought and listened to.   Much was changing!   “Grease” puts in front of us teenage relationships, rebellion, social structure, gang violence and peer pressure. It reminds many of us of the struggle of the age of adolescence. “Grease”, the musical, would not be possible without the Rock and Roll revolution of the Fifties. We think it fitting to look at it today in the light of the revolution that it celebrates.”

Performance dates May 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17 18 and 19 at 8:00 p.m. and May 12, 13 and 19 at 3:00 p.m. All performances are at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Avenue, in Chatham. Tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for youth/senior.

Tickets can be purchased at our Box Office or Online. To access the theater’s new online ticketing service, where you can now reserve your particular seat, simply go to ccp.booktix.com. The service is available 24 hours a day, and tickets can be purchased online up until three hours prior to curtain on the day of a performance. Chatham Playhouse’s box office will begin accepting phone reservations on April 24 at (973) 635-7363.

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