Pictured: Quentin Brown and the cast of GREASE
By Marissa Carter
Sandy, Danny, and the other students from Rydell High are all on stage this week at Starlight Theatre in GREASE; the well-known musical about a group of high school students in the 1950’s.
The plot centers around the love story between Danny Zuko, a bad boy greaser, and Sandy Dumbrowski, a sugary sweet girl who is new in town. After a summer romance, the two teens are surprised to find themselves at the same high school, and Sandy is disappointed to find that Danny’s feelings for her seem to have cooled under the scrutiny of his greaser buddies, the T-Birds, and their sarcastic female counterparts, the Pink Ladies.
As a long-time GREASE fan, I was very excited to see this show, so it pains me to say that the opening night production was not all I hoped it would be. The first few scenes, although well-done from a technical standpoint, lack that theatrical energy and magic we all love. This production was pulled together in only twelve days, and the short rehearsal time is evident. The cast is obviously talented, delivering some standout solo vocal performances, but the overall chemistry and cohesiveness are off. Characterization has suffered as well.
In spite of the rough edges, there are a few numbers that come together well. Eliza Palasz (Marty), sings a beautiful rendition of “Freddy My Love;” Lindsey Olsen (Rizzo), brings some deep emotion to “There are Worse Things I Could Do;” and “Born to Hand Jive” looks and sounds really good. The best scene of the show by far is when Quentin Brown takes the stage as Teen Angel and delivers a spectacular performance of “Beauty School Dropout.” This performance alone is almost worth the price of admission.
Visually, this production is spot on. The sets are attractive, simple, and effectively used, so that throughout the production we make believable visits to the school, the park, the drive-in, a diner, and several students’ homes. Likewise, the costumes are exactly what is needed to create the perfect impression of a 1950’s high school. For the women, the KC Costume Company chose an excellent blend of dresses, petticoats, pedal pushers, and pencil skirts in bright colors. The men on stage wear a wide range of ‘50s style clothes as well, which provides a nice change from the usual uniform of jeans and white t-shirts.
Overall, GREASE has all the building blocks of a great show, but was perhaps too hastily put together.
GREASE runs through September 14th. For more information visit kcstarlight.com.