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Corn Stock Theatre
July 31 - August 8

By Erika Evans

The fifties come alive with fun, confusion, and no small dosage of teenage angst in Corn Stock Theatre’s Grease. With a set that easily encompasses the many locations connected to Rydell High School and a cast that portrays an interesting set of characters, Grease is certainly a worthwhile production.

A very fun and whimsical atmosphere was provided by the background platform, a structure that housed the band at the top, doors below them, and one of the main stages. It boasted black and white checker patterns as well as a bright red base color. The feeling of a fifties diner is immediate, a great choice for the show. Props were moved throughout the show to convey different rooms; the space was used very well.

As far as the cast goes, they did a beautiful job conveying the silliness but also seriousness of the issues this group of friends goes through. David Brown (Danny) gave an excellent performance, showing off his wide vocal range. Meg Simpson (Sandy) conveyed the innocence and timid nature that is associated with Sandy very well. Jillian Risinger (Rizzo) perfectly showed her tough yet vulnerable side all the way through the show. Ingrid Beyhl (Marty) was lovely in the role, pulling off the personality with a flourish. Susan Knobloch (Frenchy) was adorable as the beautician that can’t quite make it through. Ethan Johnson (Kenickie) was convincing as a rough guy who eventually does show his feelings. Kyle King (Roger) added light-hearted comedy to a group that takes themselves a little too seriously at times. Jessica Palkovic (Cha-Cha) was crude and flashy, just as she should be. Andy Shoepke (Eugene) was everyone’s favorite nerd, while having a small part he provided the gang with endless material. Bryan Blanks (Vince Fontaine) put his whole body into the part, holding nothing back. Laura Steffey (Miss Lynch) watched the events unfold with a stern look and an iron fist, a true teacher.

The lights kept everything interesting, bringing me back to the use of space. Lights sectioned off different scenes in very helpful ways, often separating scenes right next to each other, cutting down on confusion. While there were positives in the technology, which would not apply to the microphones. At the beginning of the show the performers mics made loud sounds when they talked, sometimes prohibiting you from hearing what they were saying all together. This was less of a problem later on in the show thankfully.

I highly recommend Grease to anyone who is in the mood for a fun-loving favorite that will have the familiar songs going through your mind all night. You may even find yourself dancing along!

Grease continues at Corn Stock through Saturday, August 8th at 7:30pm each night, although tickets are extremely limited. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and are available at the Corn Stock  box office, by calling 309-676-2196 or online at

Posted on August 2, 2015