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Spokane Valley Summer Theatre's "Grease"

Noelle Fries, Dylan James, Andrea Olson
Savanna Rothe
Spokane Public Radio
Noelle Fries, Dylan James and Andrea Olson (L–R) of Spokane Valley Summer Theatre's "Grease" in the SPR lobby

The choreographer and leads from SVST's 2023 opener talk summer lovin' and more

Noelle Fries, Dylan James and Andrea Olsen entered the KPBX studio to talk with E.J. Iannelli about the Spokane Valley Summer Theatre's new production of Grease, which opens the organization's 2023 season.

Olsen, fresh off a staging of Clue: The Musical with Spokane Falls Community College, is choreographing this production.

She talked about her long history of working closely with director Yvonne A.K. Johnson and the complexities of securing the rights to Grease's full suite of songs. Some productions of Grease omit select tunes from the 1978 movie, but this particular production makes a point of including all the audience favorites.

James and Fries are playing the leads Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski, respectively. Fries offered some background on her own decade of experience with SVST and how that helped their accelerated four-week rehearsal schedule. James is no stranger to musical theater but is a relative newcomer to SVST, having made his debut there in last season's Newsies.

The trio also discussed their love of the film and the characters portrayed by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta as well as the stage musical's key points of departure from the onscreen version.

This staging of Grease was timed to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the film. It also arrives when a Grease prequel TV series and a prequel film are in the works.

SVST's Grease opens this Friday (June 16) and runs until July 2 at University High School in Spokane Valley (12420 E 32nd Ave). Tickets are more information are at the Spokane Valley Summer Theatre website.

E.J. Iannelli is Spokane Public Radio's Arts and Music Director
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