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story.lead_photo.caption Sophomores Josephine Turner (at left, in white) as Sandy and Phoenix Lawson (at right, in the red shirt) as Danny dance during a practice for "Grease," the fall Jefferson City High School musical. Photo by Jefferson City Public Schools

Jefferson City High School is presenting a well-known fall production that still has surprises to offer for the school's last musical before Capital City High School opens next year.

"Grease" will take audiences tonight and this weekend to 1950s Rydell High School as the 1978 John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John-starring film version of the stage musical celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Jarrod Hendricks, director of choirs at JCHS, said there has not been much discussion yet about how JCHS and CCHS will schedule their respective musical productions next year, but for now, the team behind this year's show wanted to put on something recognizable.

Hendricks said the song "You're the One that I Want" is in JCHS' production — the pop hit was written for the movie, and was not in the original stage production.

He said it did take a little bit longer than usual to get the licensing rights for the song, because there are so many "Grease" productions under way around the country to tie in with the movie's anniversary.

There are some elements to set JCHS' production apart from others and the film — which many people may have seen multiple times throughout their lives.

Hendricks said there will be a prop car on the stage as the "Grease Lightning" hot rod — a re-purposed former flying car bought from Helias Catholic High School after its production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

He said many "Grease" productions also utilize a school scene for their set designs, but JCHS' will have a giant jukebox in the middle of the set, because the music is what draws people to the show.

"I think they're going to realize there's a lot of talent (at JCHS)" Hendricks said of another surprise people might experience in the show's cast.

The show's leads of Danny and Sandy are being played by sophomores Phoenix Lawson and Josephine Turner. Hendricks said there are approximately 100 students involved as cast and crew.

JCHS Principal Bob James will also be featured as a special guest character.

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Besides himself, Hendricks said the show's directing team includes his wife, Shawna Hendricks, along with Zachary McKinney and Cheryl Nichols. The choreographers are Stephanie Bise and Natalie Whittenberger, and set production leads are Mark and Gabe Wittenberger and Steve and Lisa May.

Performances of "Grease" will be at the Miller Performing Arts Center — at 7 p.m. tonight; noon senior citizen matinee and at 7 p.m. Friday; and at noon and 7 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students, available for purchase at the door or at

Jarrod Hendricks said the online ticketing option is new, and there is not yet an option to be able to reserve seats online.

The box office at the Miller Performing Arts Center, 501 Madison St., opens at 5 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m., he said.

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