By Meredith Schellin
While previous classes have spent the majority of the spring semester preparing for sophomore musical, the cast of “Grease,” this year’s sophomore musical, took a different approach to producing and performing this longstanding tradition.
Traditionally, sophomore musical has taken place later in the semester to give the cast and crew time to prepare within the given semester. However, the Ransomed class will be performing their take on “Grease” within the first month of school, on Jan. 23-25.
For director Heather Hollingshead, having the musical take place earlier in the semester meant allowing participating students to partake in this tradition without giving up their entire spring semester.
Ransomed class members began their rehearsals in September and returned Jan. 8 to resume rehearsals for this semester.
“It’s a highly time-demanding process, and now it won’t be biting into everyone’s semester and studies,” said Hollingshead.
Fairynne Mathison, who plays Sandy in the musical, noted that being able to come back early this semester proved to be very beneficial.
“It was really great to get back to school early and get a lot of work done,” said Mathison. “It was very helpful to only have to focus on the musical. We didn’t have a load of homework yet, so it has been easier to balance school and a production.”
While Hollingshead and Mathison saw the benefit of having the musical early in the semester, they, along with other cast and crew members, admitted there have been obstacles along the way.
“Coming back this early in the semester has given us a lot of time to get to know one another on and off set,” said vocal director Ellen Packer. “It is difficult to teach songs before a long break because it’s likely that a lot of what was taught has been forgotten.”
Mathison echoed Packer’s concern that it would be difficult to have the musical open shortly after a long break.
“The biggest obstacle for me has been time,” Mathison said. “It has been nerve-wracking just feeling like we aren’t ready to open in a week.”
Not only did the Ransomed class have a different time constraint than other sophomore classes, but the class also chose a musical that required editing from their directing crew in order to make it Asbury appropriate.
“Some changes have been made,” said Hollingshead. “All I can say is it is not the movie, it is not the original stage performance; it’s a hybrid of some special creativity, blood, sweat and tears. But it is totally fun, totally new and totally loud.”
Hollingshead had originally proposed “Mary Poppins” for the sophomore musical; however, after deliberation, Hollingshead and the other members of the Ransomed class cabinet decided that “Grease” would be a better choice.
“I’s fun, modern and I think everyone would enjoy it,” said Hollingshead. “It’s one of my favorites.”
Although the Ransomed class may have dealt with different situations than their predecessors, according to cast and crew members, the goal of sophomore musical was still achieved.
“Even though my life is stressful and busy, ‘Grease’ is something I look forward to,” said Mathison. “I love getting to know the cast and have so much fun with them. It has been a challenge on many levels, but I am so blessed and thankful to have this opportunity with my class.”