Conventionality belongs to yesterday at QPAC


Fat transcends generations. Indeed, musical satire resonates decades after the hit film. More than likely because of the deep truth beating in his heart. Grease defies social rules while highlighting intergenerational conflicts. The lawless and rebellious musical tackles issues of adolescent sexuality and gender equality. And, as if we could forget, Grease also features some of the most popular songs of all time.

Look for the cast of Grease on the cover of News magazine in the streets this next Friday.

Scroll dclean for a video interview.

This production, presented by the Queensland Performing Arts Center (QPAC), and performed by musical theater students from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU) at QPAC’s Lyric Theater retains everything you’ve always loved about Grease. But it also recognizes the world we live in now with some unique adjustments that bring it into 2021.

Grease brings us a legacy of amazing songs. Who can forget “You are the one I want”, “Fat is the word”, “Summer nights”, “Desperately devoted to you” or “Greased lightning”?

Almost 70 musical theater students from the Queensland Conservatorium bring energy and passion to electrifying classics. Take a trip down memory lane with the Rydell High Class of 59. Relive the classic story of Danny, Sandy, the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies as they journey through the trials and tribulations of teenage life, love and leather jackets.

QCGU Musical Theater Program

CEO John Kotzas said the APQC is delighted to support the talented students of QCGU’s prestigious musical theater program.
“QCGU musical theater graduates are highly regarded in the industry nationwide. Many young graduates get professional roles in big productions. It is rare to have the availability of programming to allow these future stars to shine on the big stage. So this opportunity is really a silver lining in the COVID cloud.

“I encourage the public to support and appreciate this new take on the enduring history of the Rydell High class of 59,” said Mr. Kotzas.

Fat is the word

QNews spoke to cast members Sean Johnston (Danny), Lucinda Wilson (Sandy) and Beau Wharton (Miss Lynch).

Non-binary performer Beau Wharton said the production stayed true to the original script without ignoring its inherent misogyny and homophobia.

“The script remains as is, but we explore character growth. The Pink Ladies, for example, are the strongest women in school. They are confident and connected – Girl Power – the same with the T-Birds. They are not afraid to talk to each other about their feelings. Both groups explore nuance within their characters.

Sean said, “We had a pretty long rehearsal period so we had time to work with each other and experience our character’s journeys together. It helped us find things different from other productions.

Lucinda added that the production often uses non-verbal cues as a means of communication.

“Carla Beard, a fluid female performer, plays Sonny, originally a male character. Having someone with a feminine body, and also a queer artist, say the jarring lines of the original script is compelling.

Beau said Carla as Sonny “had to find this bubbly and horny kid with dirty, dirty manners.” Also, Elizabeth Ball as Johnny Casino, an Elvis-level rockstar whose gender remains unimportant. Everything revolves around the magnetism of celebrity.

As one of the performers playing against gender stereotypes, Beau said, “It’s not about genre, but how our characters elevate the story.”

The music

Grease is first and foremost a musical, so QNews wanted to know the interpreter’s favorite numbers.

Sean couldn’t get past the classic innuendo-laden rock ‘n roll megahit,’ Greased Lightning ‘.

“It’s an epic number with so many people on stage – the whole ensemble – choreography all over the stage, people running, running away… cars changing; everything happens. It’s also a very fun rock.

Lucinda also picked an eternal high-energy favorite, ‘Shakin’ at the High School Hop ‘.

“The energy as the band suddenly starts the music, then the lights come on and people rush onto the stage. Energy is just electric.

Beau has been careful to avoid spoilers.

“The show opens with a beautiful and charming ballad from Sandy and Danny. Then the pin falls off, and everything becomes ballistic. Chills, every time.

Grease is a lively evening with great music while encouraging the audience to consider the challenges our society faces, from gender equity to social justice.

Book your tickets

QPAC introduces the musical theater students of Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
November 10 – 13, 2021
Lyric Theater, QPAC, Queensland Cultural Center, South Bank, Brisbane.
Tickets on or by phone at 136-246.

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