Grease draws sellout crowds at UMFK

FORT KENT, Maine — Finding a parking spot outside Fox Auditorium at University of Maine at Fort Kent was challenging at times this weekend due to the popularity of the high school play “Grease” being performed there. 

The Fort Kent Community High School production drew sell-out crowds Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“Grease” the musical, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, was made into a hit movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in 1978.

It is not every community that has the potential to turn out real life Broadway or television stars, but watching “Grease” one would certainly count that into the realm of possibility for Fort Kent. 

Sophomore Sadie Cairns, who played the lead role of Sandy Dumbrowski, has been singing like a professional since she first began performing in the Fort Kent Drama Club shows at just 10 years old. 

Junior Olorin Braun wins the leading male role in just about every high school play.  Braun, who has the ability to turn from dramatic to comedic with the drop of a hat while never breaking character, performed as Danny Zuko.

Breakout performances by Halle Michaud as Pink Lady Rizzo and Ziggy Bernstein as Greaser Roger stole the show at times. Both have great comedic timing and embraced the ridiculousness of their characters when the scene called for it. The two also surprised audiences with their strong singing voices.

“It was a big crowd,” Michaud said. “At first I was nervous but they were really enjoying the show and it helped to have a fun and lighthearted audience watching.”

Michaud said she began preparing for the role last summer before the musical was even cast. 

“I’ve wanted Rizzo from the start so I practiced it constantly. It’s also convenient when you truly become your character. It’s like you’re singing from your heart,” she said. 

Music director Samantha Rossignol said she met with the performers individually to perfect their songs, and at the beginning of each rehearsal the cast spent time working on the group numbers. 

“I know some practiced a lot on their own at home too. It really helped that they were all so into this play,” Rossignol said. “They were enjoying themselves and wanted to perfect everything about this play. And as you can see with the outcome, they surely surpassed any expectation we had.”

The show also included special guest stars much to the delight of audiences.

Fort Kent educator and former varsity boys basketball coach Derrick Cooper performed the role of Vince Fontaine. 

Fort Kent dean of students Steve Doucette, music teacher Erika Basham and drama director Doug Clapp rocked the crowd along with student actor Nathaniel Paradis, aka Johnny Casino, when they played real instruments to perform the song “Hand Jive.”

FORT KENT, Maine — The cast of Grease, Fort Kent Community High School actors, impressed sold out crowds at Fox Auditorium over the weekend. From left, are, Madds Bruan Epp, Olorin Braun, Izzy Rusnack, Tia Saucier, Sadie Pelletier, and Sadie Cairns. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

FORT KENT, Maine — Sadie Cairns performs the classic song ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You,’ during a performance of Grease on Friday evening. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

FORT KENT, Maine — Fort Kent Community High School actors Amyah Urich (left) and Olorin Braun perform a dance number in the musical Grease at Fox Auditorium. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

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