Rydell High comes to Maastricht by Tracey Taylor

With Grease currently playing in Maastricht, I was thrilled to head to the Theater aan het Vrijthof to catch the musical, and to have the pleasure of interviewing one of the cast members, William Spaaij.

Musical award nominee and two-time winner of Best Actor in a Major Musical, William Spaaij has been performing on stage since the tender age of 4. Born in Zwolle, Spaaij is an actor, singer, and dancer and in this production of Grease, has taken on the role of Vince Fontaine/Teen Angel. But this is not his first time to perform in the musical. “I played the part of Kenickie 16 years ago!” says Spaaij. A performance for which he received a nomination as ‘best up & coming talent.’ 

Fast forward to today and Spaaij has built an impressive résumé with performances in Footloose, Mary Poppins and Lazarus – to name a few… During his career, Spaaij has performed in over 20 shows in the Theater aan het Vrijthof alone. "I enjoy being on tour in Maastricht," Spaaij tells me, "as it offers the chance to stay over, explore the city, and soak-up it’s culture and energy."

Just keep on dancin'

With close to 20 years’ experience treading the boards and performing, Spaaij has no plans to say farewell to theatre life any time soon and is now adding the role of director to his bio. "I’ve been performing in [musical] theatre a long time," says Spaaij "and I’m keen to work with younger actors and share my craft and knowledge." Given Spaaij’s studies, experience, and passion, I’m sure he will continue to excel.

And as if he weren’t busy enough, Spaaij tells me he is also getting ready to become a father in September!

Grease is the Word

I very much enjoyed Spaaij’s solid and accomplished performance as Vince Fontaine/Teen Angel and the charm and humour he brought to the character. Another favourite of mine was Luuk Haaze as Eugene Felsnick – his understated (yet perfectly timed) comedy was spot on.

Alongside good performances from other cast members, I must mention the live band (Swing) – elevated above the main stage – who were awesome. A shout out too for the folks responsible for stage design & lighting, and the seamless set changes. And no surprise the show’s choreographer (Daan Wijnands) won the 2023 Musical Award for Best Choreography. The cast and ensemble dance performances – Greased Lightnin’ in particular – were wonderful. Rudy Hellewegen (Company Manager) certainly has a hit on his hands.

William Spaaij als Vince Fontaine in musical Grease bij Theater aan het Vrijthof 06-2023 Rudy Hellewegen

Good to know

That said, it is important to note that the musical (apart from the mega mix medley finale) is in Dutch. If you already know the plot and the songs, hearing them in Dutch is a great way to become more familiar with the language – or just sing along in whichever language takes your fancy.

Grease plays in the Theater aan het Vrijthof today (3 June) and tomorrow (matinée) before the show moves on across the country with a run until October 2023. There are still a handful of tickets for the Maastricht shows but if you are out of luck, Grease will return to Zuid-Limburg (Theater Heerlen) from 13-17 September.

Curtain up

The stunning Theater aan het Vrijthof is at the heart of culture and art in this region and despite Grease saying farewell to Maastricht, theatre programmer – Peter Noten – has no time to rest. With the 2023-2024 programme recently announced – and which is definitely worth checking out – it promises to be another busy season. From cabaret to dance and classical music to opera... Noten and the (efficient/friendly) team at Theater aan het Vrijthof are ready to welcome you through their doors. Enjoy!

Theater aan het Vrijthof 

Vrijthof 47
6211 LE Maastricht

About the author

Tracey Taylor is an aspiring photographer, part-time writer, and former magazine editor. She loves animals, choir singing, and yoga. She is Irish and lives in Maastricht with Dave and their cat, Little Tubbs. @traceytaylor_nl