‘Grease’ is the word for local singer

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photoLea Mulligan

A Vancouver student at Portland’s PHAME Academy is preparing to show off her alto voice in the school’s upcoming production of the musical “Grease.”

PHAME, Pacific Honored Artists Musicians and Entertainers, is a 27-year-old fine- and performing-arts academy for adults with developmental disabilities.

Lea Mulligan, 22, will play the role of Frenchie in the 1950s-based rock musical.

Mulligan, who said she’s watched the film version of “Grease” at home several times over the years, said she was thrilled to be able to play the show’s pink-haired beauty school dropout.

“I like the way she smiles a lot, and she’s so nice to people,” she said.

Stephen Marc Beaudoin, PHAME’s executive director, said the role suits Mulligan.

“The students really hold her in high regard,” Beaudoin said. “She works hard, she has a great spirit and a great smile, and she’s so kind.”

“Grease” will be Mulligan’s third production at the academy, which she’s attended for four years, but this is her first time in a leading role.

Asked if she was nervous, Mulligan said, “just a little bit, but I’m trying not to be too much.”

Her favorite song in the show is the final number, “We Go Together.”

Mulligan will be joined in the production by two other Vancouver students, Rebecca Davis, 32, who plays Cha-Cha, and Lainie Long, 30, who’s in the ensemble.

“When we announced that we were doing ‘Grease,’ everyone went crazy — they were screaming, crying, falling down, and then we all broke into a chorus of ‘Summer Loving,’” Beaudoin said.

Tickets are $13 to $19 for the shows, which will be at 7 p.m. June 18 and 2 p.m. June 19, at the Mt. Hood Community College Mainstage Theatre, 26000 S.E. Stark St., Gresham. Visit http://www.phameacademy.org/ or call 503-764-9718 for more information.