‘Grease’ is the word in Heflin as Cleburne high schools prepare for spring musical
by Kristen Bonner
Special to The Star
May 05, 2013 | 4305 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Left to right, Bridgette McLain, Taylor Ball, Halley Cook and Catherine Taylor perform ’Beauty School Dropout’ during the dress rehearsal for ‘Grease’ Wednesday at the Casey Auditorium in Heflin. Photo: Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star
Left to right, Bridgette McLain, Taylor Ball, Halley Cook and Catherine Taylor perform ’Beauty School Dropout’ during the dress rehearsal for ‘Grease’ Wednesday at the Casey Auditorium in Heflin. Photo: Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star
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“Why, this car is auto-matic. It’s system-matic. It’s hyyyyydro-matic … Why, it’s greased lightning!”

And that lightning is streaking its way into Heflin.

Danny, Sandy and the rest of the “Grease” gang have been shaking up generations of T-Birds and Pink Ladies for decades. Now, 35 years after the classic flick first hit the silver screen, members of the Heflin community are bringing the musical back to where it first originated — the stage.

Next weekend at Casey Auditorium, Cleburne County’s teens will perform the “school edition” of “Grease” — a G-rated version scrubbed of sex, drugs and Rizzo’s “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.” The nonprofit production is put on by Cleburne County High School’s drama club, along with students from Ranburne High School and a crew of volunteers from throughout the community with the help of a $2,000 grant from the Heflin Arts Council.

Everyone involved — from cast to sponsors to technicians — are volunteers, says junior Sela Bay Miles, who is cast as the Pink Ladies’ outspoken leader, Rizzo.

“It’s about community and bringing us together. Not the money,” said Miles. “It’s nice to do plays in a small town and ‘Grease’ — wow, that’s pretty big.”

This is the 16-year-old’s first year at Cleburne High, and Rizzo is her first major stage role. Miles said she actually went out for the part of good-girl Sandy, but now she wouldn’t trade Rizzo for anything.

“One of my favorite scenes is when I get to make fun of Sandy (during the song) ‘Sandra D,’ and then I get punched in the face,” she said.

Starring opposite Miles as Rizzo’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Kenickie, is fellow Cleburne classmate, Matthew Bonds. It’s a role that’s presented the 16-year-old sophomore with a few challenges, he said.

“He’s probably been in jail three or four times,” Bonds explained. “I’ve never really been in trouble, so it was kind of hard to get into that mentality at first.”

Bonds has been around the stage since he was a third grader. He joined the drama club in eighth grade after his friends in the club encouraged him to, he said. And Miles is not worried about her co-star pulling off the bad-boy role.

“I’m real outgoing and he’s pretty reserved, so we do each other justice. I liven him up,” she said. “They really ended up doing an amazing casting job.”

Both Miles and Bonds had nothing but praise for the drama club’s sponsor, Jennifer Dasinger. The Cleburne High science teacher has been an inspiration to her actors, the teens said.

Not to mention, all of the show’s expenses not covered by the Arts Council donation she’s paid out of pocket.

“I really do want continue in the arts when I graduate from high school,” Miles said. “I’m not sure what I want to do just yet. I just know I want to give back and be able to provide opportunities to others like Mrs. Dasinger has done for me.”

Cleburne County and Ranburne High School students will perform “Grease” at the Casey Auditorium on Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, May 11, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
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