Logo with the word Grease

July 20, 2022

‘Grease: School Version’ is the word at SIU’s McLeod Theater, July 28-31

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The “word” is definitely “Grease” when talented high school students and recent graduates from throughout the region gather in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s McLeod Theater later this month to tell the tale of a 1950s coming-of-age love story through the early sounds of rock ’n’ roll, hotrods and malt shops.

The performances by the All-Southern High School Theatre Project is presented by McLeod Summer Playhouse and Artspace 304. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. July 28-30, with a 2 p.m. matinee on July 31. The theater is in the Communications Building, 1100 Lincoln Drive, on the SIU campus.

The often-told story of teenagers working their way through high school with numerous pressures, including love, was initially a stage production in 1971 in Chicago. The musical moved in 1972 to Broadway, where it ran for nearly 3,400 performances before closing in April 1980, and has since had numerous revivals on Broadway and London, in addition to tours in the United States, Ireland, and London. The 1978 film adaptation starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, and a “Grease: Live” television production was broadcast in 2016.

The 2022 performance at SIU features 21 students from high schools including Agape Christian High School, Carbondale Community High School, Carterville High School, Frankfort Community High School, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Johnston City High School, Mount Vernon Township High School, Murphysboro High School and Pinckneyville Community High School.  

Matthew C. Williams, assistant professor of theater and dance at SIU, is the production’s director and choreographer. William’s Broadway credits include Will Ferrell’s, “You’re Welcome America” and “All About Me,” in addition to the off-Broadway revival of “Carrie” the musical, and the acclaimed “Big Apple Circus” at Lincoln Center.

The performance’s music is under the direction of Jackson Love, a graduate student in music theory/composition from Huntsville, Alabama, with additional choreography by Aubree Jean, a senior in musical theater.

Tickets available now

Additional show and ticketing information is available at playhouse.siu.edu or 618-453-6000 or the Saluki Ticket Office at 877-SALUKIS (725-8547).