Travis Paterson/News staff Sandy (Emily Mackin) and Danny (Matthew Stachniak) are ready to meet for the first time at Claremont in Grease, The Musical, which runs May 13 to 16 and May 19 to 23 at 7 p.m. at the school. A matinee also runs on May 23 at 2 p.m.

Travis Paterson/News staff Sandy (Emily Mackin) and Danny (Matthew Stachniak) are ready to meet for the first time at Claremont in Grease, The Musical, which runs May 13 to 16 and May 19 to 23 at 7 p.m. at the school. A matinee also runs on May 23 at 2 p.m.

Greased Lightning hits Claremont

Grease, The Musical stars have high school tales of their own

Behind the scenes of Claremont secondary’s upcoming production of Grease, The Musical, is a high school tale of its own.

Playing Sandy is Grade 12 student Emily Mackin, who falls into a social-class conundrum with Danny, played by co-lead and fellow Grade 12 Matthew Stachniak. Their stage relationship as a couple is an extension of a real-life partnership, though it’s not exactly a reflection of it.

“We were hanging out last summer and Matthew would sing,” Mackin says. “I told him he was good at it and he should try out for the school play.”

Mackin, however, is a stage veteran. She’s been involved in Claremont’s past three productions: Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde and 42nd Street. During that time Stachniak was at Reynolds secondary and not part of its drama program. The closest stage experience, he said, was when he last took part in a Grade 10 choir. Otherwise he’s been plucking his guitar here and there. Acting is new, to say the least.

“I went into (October’s) Grease auditions having fun, but I really didn’t think anything would come of it,” Stachniak said. “When the cast list came out a week later I saw Emily’s name first on the list (as Sandy), right below it was my name, I was pretty shocked, it was a bit nerve-racking.”

Claremoent Drama head Colin Plant said Stachniak was a natural fit.

Offstage, Danny is not in Stachniak’s character, but onstage he’s totally a Danny, Plant said.

“When (Stachniak) auditioned, he nailed it. Though he was a rookie, we believed with coaching and hard work he could pull it of.”

In Grease, Sandy and Danny first meet in the Californian summer of 1959.

Assuming Sandy will return to Australia for September, they forego their short-lived romance. When they meet at school, Danny, a greaser, is unable to break character and they’re separated by peer groups, until they break the barriers and reunite.

As a real couple, Mackin says being in a stageplay with Stachniak ends up being more fun, if anything.

“The scenes demand you to be professional and true to character, anyways,” Stachniak says.

“The teachers here are dedicated to making it a professional environment and they’re good at it, so it’s comfortable,” Mackin said.

For Grease fans who know the character of Kenickie couples with Rizzo – that’s happening in real life at Claremont as well.

“Go figure,” Plant says. “Really, we’re blessed because the dynamic of the lead group is very positive, they really work with each other,” Stachniak agrees.

“We actually hang out, we’re a close group. It’s like we’re in high school or something,” he says.

Claremont’s Ridge Theatre presents Grease from May 13 to 16 and May 19 to 23 at 7 p.m. There is a Saturday, May 23 matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12.50 for students/seniors at 4980 Wesley Rd. Call 250-658-6672 for reservations.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Saanich author Hannalora Leavitt hopes her new book, This Disability Experience, helps to dispel the ‘otherness’ that often surrounds people with disabilities. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Vancouver Island author demystifying disability and dismantling otherness

Hannalora Leavitt, who lives with a visual impairment, wants to change how people look at disability

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

Most Read