By Dan and Alison Tingley
Grease, directed and choreographed by Richard Davis, is now playing at the Erie Playhouse. With book, music, and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, Grease started in Chicago in 1971 and went on to Broadway. When it closed in 1980, it was the longest running show on Broadway, and it’s still one of the longest running shows. Grease also enjoyed a couple of revivals. As you probably know, it was turned into a movie in 1978 starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The movie has its own following complete with sing-a-longs.
Set in the late 1950’s, the story is that of Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko who have a summer romance and then struggle over whether to continue the romance once school starts. Sandy is a wholesome young lady, while Danny is a greaser in a gang called the T-Birds. They are from two different worlds that don’t work well together. Sandy makes a few friends at school with some girls who call themselves the Pink Ladies (Rizzo, Marty, Frenchy, and Jan) and often hang out with the T-Birds (Danny, Sonny, Roger, Doody, and Kenickie). There’re a few budding romances in the mix between the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies. Sandy still has trouble fitting in, as Rizzo thinks she’s too much of a goody-two-shoes to be part of the Pink Ladies. The show is full of catchy songs and fun dance numbers.
The cast includes Jesse Yates (Danny Zuko), Rebecca Edmunds (Sandy Dumbrowski), Steven George (Sonny), Christopher Hinchman (Roger), Blake Bojewski (Doody), Bobby Copfer (Kenickie), Adele Marie Stewart (Jan), Jenna Lindberg (Rizzo), Lili Morton (Marty), and Tracey Lucas (Frenchy). Additional cast members include Jen Abbate (Patty), Tim Crandall (Eugene), Duryea Gette (Miss Lynch), TJ Faulkner (Vince Fontaine), Ali Dickson (Cha-Cha), and Joe Greulich (Teen Angel).
This is a fun, entertaining show. The dance numbers are very well choreographed and well done. We especially enjoyed watching George, Bojewski, Copfer, Lucas, Crandall, and Lindberg dance.
Edmunds is absolutely delightful. She has a beautiful voice, dances well, and shows all of her character’s emotion. In other words, she’s quite talented. Edmunds and Stewart give us beautiful harmony in “It’s Raining on Prom Night.” Lindberg is graceful and sings very well. She carries herself well and plays her character flawlessly. Bojewski has an amazing voice. He also moves well on the stage. We hope to see him in more shows. Hinchman adds some very nice harmony with Bojewski during “Rock N Roll Party Queen.” Lucas and Copfer give very good performances, really getting in to their characters. Yates sounds a lot like John Travolta and makes his character believable by showing his dilemma between really liking Sandy and wanting to be cool. Crandall is just fun to watch. Faulkner shows he’s very comfortable on the stage, engaging the audience nicely. Greulich’s performance as the Teen Angel is hilarious.
The set is perfect as are the costumes. The car is adorable. The orchestra, as always, is wonderful. The only problem with the show was that the microphones were in-and-out leaving some of the lyrics unheard. We have to give credit, specifically, to Copfer because when his mike went out he compensated and could still be heard in the back row.
Grease runs through April 28. Now, for those of you who are under the impression that the bird is the word, we’ve learned that grease is, in fact, the word. In summary, this well directed show is a lot of fun. You should see it. For more information and tickets call the Erie Playhouse box office at 814-454-2852 or go online to www.erieplayhouse.org.