GREASE: BETTER THAN THE 50’S EVER WERE (and quite possibly more fun!)
By Carol-Ann Rudy
FANS—screaming, shrieking, and heard all over midtown Broadway! The Beatles? The Rolling Stones? The Spice Girls?
No, Grease this past Tuesday night.
You’d have thought it was Opening Night, which takes place on August 19th at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
And outside? Hundreds of fans, wearing “I Love Max” and “I Voted for Laura” tee shirts thronged the stage door for a look at Max Crumm, “Danny Zuko,” and Laura Osnes, “Sandy Dumbrowski,” Security had to be called at the last minute to control the crowd, as the stage door opened and the pair appeared. The fans waved playbills, posters, and photos, pleading for autographs. They traveled from all over the U.S. to see the newest stars on Broadway.
Inside, Kathleen Marshall, the Tony Award-winning director and choreographer, and David Ian, producer, took their turn at signing autographs too. Ian, along with BBC’s Paul Telegdy and Conrad Green served as Executive Producers of the nationally televised weekly talent competition on NBC, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want,” produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. . .
The new Danny and Sandy took the stage, bringing adoring fans to their feet with a full four-minute standing ovation. The sold-out audience cheered as each of the show’s characters made their entrances: “Rizzo” played by Jenny Powers, “Kenickie” played by Matthew Saldivar, “Frenchy” played by Kirsten Wyatt, and the supporting cast. With each of the show’s popular tunes, “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin,” and “You’re the One That I Want,” the crowd went wild. The score includes the original songs as well as additional songs from the film version, “Grease is the Word,” “You’re the One That I Want,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” and “Sandy.”
This production features the book, music, and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. The original production of Grease opened on Broadway June 2, 1972 at the Royale Theatre, transferred to the Majestic Theatre, and closed as the longest running show in Broadway history. Along the way, it picked up seven Tony Awards. It was followed by the film version featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in 1978, “the highest-grossing movie musical of all time” according to GreaseOnBroadway.com. Yet another revival of Grease hit Broadway from 1994 to 1998 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, winning three Tony Award nominations.
The enormous popularity of the selection process for the actors via a “reality show” venue won a new young audience, to whom the songs must have a fresh, vital appeal. This has to be immensely rewarding to the show’s backers. With this third Broadway production, Grease has won a new generation of fans, new “Greasers.”