Footlight celebrates 20 years with classic musical

Morgan Dooley-Axup as Sandy with Abby Perks, Isabella Cappelli, Cassie Chappell and Paris Walsh as the Pink Ladies. (Supplied)

Matt Hewson

Footlight Productions will bring the original high school musical Grease to Geelong audiences this weekend in a high-energy extravaganza of lights, music and dancing.

A classic tale of teenage romance amid the pressures of high school, Grease has been a favourite of musical lovers since it premiered in 1971 and only grew in popularity when the film of the same name starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John was released in 1978.

The local theatre company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, having nurtured the talents of over 300 Geelong performers throughout that time.

Producer Peter Wills, who founded Footlight Productions with his wife Margaret in 2003, said the show held a special place in his heart as he performed the role of the Teen Angel in the Geelong Musical Comedy Company’s production of Grease in 1986.

“It was the first time Grease was ever staged in Geelong; it was very exciting and very well received at the time,” he said.

“Back when we did it you weren’t allowed to have the songs that were written for the movie (Grease, You’re the One That I Want, Hopelessly Devoted to You). They weren’t in the original stage production or any production that was to follow.

“It was only in the last three or four years that they’ve allowed community theatre companies to have those songs incorporated into the show, which is amazing.”

Wills praised the show’s leads Morgan Dooley-Axup (Sandy) and Luke Wilson (Danny) and said the entire cast were ready to deliver a fantastic experience.

“We’ve got a very energetic cast, it makes me exhausted just watching them dance,” he said.

“When people see the dancing they will be blown away, it’s amazing.

“There’s something happening all the time, whether it’s singing, dancing, the band, or whatever. And we’ve got a wonderful old car (which is) actuall from one of the professional productions in Melbourne.”

Footlight Productions’ Grease is at the Geelong Arts Centre from Saturday, July 13 to Saturday, July 20.