Brentwood Brings Flash to Grease Lightning!

The Brentwood High School Drama and Performing Arts turned back time with its spring musical, Grease. Adapted from the classic movie, Grease follows the themes of friendships, teenage love, and relationships through the story of a couple of high school kids from the 1950s, specifically Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko, who navigate falling in love while from very different social circles.

Rachel Ferzola, the director of the Drama and Performing Arts, knew how easy it would be to garner the attention of the public through an adapted musical from an all-time classic.

“We knew this would be a production that would garner high interest and excitement,” said Ferzola, “not just from the students but also from the community.”

The main leads, Susanna Landaverde and Anthony Ramos, who played Dany Zuko and Sandy Olsson respectively, felt that the different time period posed exciting challenges.

“Since Danny and I are from different centuries, it felt nice to reconnect with the past,” said Anthony Ramos, “and give the audience that sense of nostalgia.”

“I’ve always loved the style of the ’50s,” said Susanna Landaverde, “so being able to live in the ’50s for a little bit was very exciting for me.”

Professionalism and good teamwork played a big role in the production’s success.

“Things can get heated between scenes and backstage under all of the pressure to do well,” said Arianna Ortiz, a senior who played Jan, a member of the Pink Ladies.

“Positivity is key,” said Alycia Marie Thomas, a senior, who played Marty a member of the Pink Ladies, “Not everyone progresses at the same rate so it might take a little longer to learn and go through each scene.”

Kevin Hernandez, a junior who played the role of Teen Angel, noted that getting into the mindset of the character and “getting comfortable with it” can challenging to master.

Amidst any struggles, many of the cast and crew members were able to enjoy attending rehearsals, creating new memories and experiences, and learning new things.

“Friendships continuously blossom into something beautiful,” said Ramos, a senior. “I never had this support from 60+ kids on a stage, and knowing that I had people encouraging every step from the back of the stage to the back of the audience just made me have a smile and continue performing.”

For crew members, they felt their bond get tighter as the rehearsals continued.

Kimberley Donis, a senior in charge of controlling all the levels of microphones and sound, agreed that “getting to work and hang out” with her friends in the lighting and sound booth was one of the things she enjoyed throughout the rehearsals.

“We were all close and being able to see the progress of the musical together made it special,” Donis said. “They never hesitated to help me out. I really owe them so much.”

Many agreed that being part of the crew felt like finding a family and meeting new people and friends that last beyond the theater walls.

“One hobby brought so many kids who barely knew each other together,” said Cydnie Charles, a junior in charge of spotlights.

“It feels like you are part of a family,” said Estefani Benitez, a junior in charge of spotlights.

For many cast and crew members, this is their very last high school musical. Through the rollercoaster that theater can be, seniors feel gratitude and appreciation towards everything that Brentwood Theater has given them.

“It is a bittersweet feeling,” said Allison Argomedo, the stage manager for all 2022-2023 school productions. “Overall, it was an amazing experience, and I am so glad to have met and got all of the wonderful people that I have met.”

Argomedo is currently planning on getting involved as a stage manager during college as she pursues a math degree.

“It feels weird that this is my last musical as a Brentwood student,” Donis said. “But I am grateful for everything that the musical has done for me. I’ve gotten to make amazing friends, try out multiple opportunities backstage and on stage, and become more confident.”

Donis hopes to keep getting involved in theater in college as she pursues a filmmaking career.

Likewise, Anthony Ramos along with other senior cast members agree that leaving the stage feels “bittersweet,” but they are glad to have joined and met incredible people that have impacted their lives. Ramos states that he will continue with music in college, pursuing to be a music educator in the future.

“I’m so happy I’m leaving a beautiful cast behind me to make Mrs. Ferzola and all of Brentwood proud,” said Marie Thomas. “I enjoyed seeing each and every one develop into their characters and I wouldn’t want to do it again with anyone else.”

Cast and crew members alike advise all prospective theater students to keep getting involved and to never be afraid of trying new opportunities. Regardless of any struggles or difficulties, they all agree that having fun and being open to new experiences is fundamental to enjoy theater.

“Simply go for it. Go win with a hopeful outlook and a love for music and community,” said Ortiz.

Ferzola hopes that the seniors are able to continue to find spaces where they can be free to express themselves and grow their talents.

“I ask that all my seniors continue to challenge themselves…continue finding their people, build relationships, and lean into the good ones.” Ferzola said, “If all the world is a stage, demand better lighting. You deserve it. Go out there and shine.”