Angelina College students and community members will put on a rendition of the musical “Grease” for free beginning at 7:30 tonight.

“We are excited to put on ‘Grease’ this year and hope many come to enjoy the show,” said Andrew Reed, co-director and instructor of theater. “I chose ‘Grease’ because I felt like it gave our actors great characters to work with. The show allows many actors to shine on stage; it’s a real ensemble show.”

Jordan Dietz and Raquel Rothschild play the leads Danny and Sandy. This is Dietz’ second show with the college. He said he loves connecting with creative people and bringing a show to life.

“I was never the cool kid in school; I was the geek that was stuck on music,” Dietz said. “Being able to be the cool kid that everyone listens to, respects, looks up to is everything that I wasn’t, so it’s really fun.”

Rothschild moved to Lufkin from Nashville in January. This is her third production with the college.

She said Sandy is her dream character.

“Sandy is someone I’ve always wanted to play,” Rothschild said. “In a way, I kind of relate to her, so it’s kind of easy for me to bring her to life.”

Usually, musicals are expensive for families to come see all together, so this is a chance for kids and adults to enjoy the theater. Rothschild said she loves meeting the kids in the audience after the performance.

“Who wouldn’t want to come see ‘Grease’?” Dietz said. “The cast and crew have worked so hard, and the talent in this crew is something you want to see. You don’t get shows like this in Lufkin very often, so to be able to have something like this on your back porch to come and enjoy — why not?”

Stephen F. Austin State University theater student Ashley Johnson plays Jan, one of the Pink Ladies. She heard about the production from a friend and thought it would be a great opportunity.

“It’s super cool that I was cast as Jan because I actually played Jan in another production in high school,” Johnson said. “It is very fun to relive this again.”

Johnson said she connects with Jan because the character is funny, spontaneous and loves food. She said this production is a chance for people to relive a movie classic on stage.

“Every on-stage version is different in their own way,” Johnson said. “I felt so, so welcomed here, the minute I auditioned. I am so close with so many people in this show. They really feel like family.”

Co-director and technical manager Meredith Taylor said this was her second time directing a full-fledged production and first time directing with the college.

“What I really like to do is work with actors,” Taylor said. “I love the technical side and the design side, but being able to jump in and put on a director hat is always a fun experience to me.”

Taylor also works closely with the Angelina Arts Alliance and the shows they bring in. She said between the college and the alliance, new doors are being opened for people to see more of the arts and different cultures around the world.

“We have worked so very hard on this production, putting in 13-plus hours to try to get it up and running,” she said. “We’re having an actual car on stage — a 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible. We’ve tried to make it really special for our students and for the community.”

The performance also will run at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Temple Theater.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.

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