The ’50s cruise into Memorial Hall with Broadway musical

Josh Ray

Memorial Hall is going to take a trip down memory lane to the times of hot rods and pink skirts on March 3.

The Broadway musical Grease will be performed for the first time in Joplin. The production has been touring the country since September 2000. Mostly stopping in towns for one performance, the group has stopped in the bigger cities for up to a week at a time.

Diane Rodes works with the publicity end of the tour. She said the turn-out for the performances has been “very good.” She doesn’t expect the Joplin show to be any different.

Beth Kownslar, facility and events manager for Memorial Hall, said it has sold about 1,300 tickets already. She said ticket sales, which have been going on since December, got low for a while, though.

“It’s picking up again,” she said. “There’s still plenty of tickets left.”

Kownslar said this is the first time a Broadway production has ever come to Joplin.

She found the touring group and set up the show.

“I just thought I’d bring in a variety of performers,” Kownslar said.

The musical is about Danny Zuko, leader of the gang called the Burger Palace Boys, and Sandy Dumbrowski, a naive transfer student. The show follows the two as they meet before school starts and then through their encounters during school.

“It’s about a girl and a guy falling in love,” Rodes said. “It just takes them through all of the events.”

Rodes said that while the set for the production is “not very elaborate,” it is a very colorful and “nice” set.

She thinks the producers would greatly enjoy performing in Joplin, especially since this will be the first time a Broadway show has come here.

“I would think that they would be excited about it for that simple fact,” Rodes said.

The show will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be on sale up until show time.

Prices run from $19 to $30 plus service charges, but Kownslar said she is running a special promotion for students.

If students go to the Hall’s Web site at and buy their tickets through the site, they can type in “Grease” as the promotional code on the checkout page. This will allow the students to get their second ticket half price.