Fancy a night of well-greased quiffs and side-burns? An abundance of jukebox jingles and bobby-socks? If so Grease has arrived at the Buell Theatre for only one week!
The conductor struck up the band, but the audience was already screaming. After all, many audience members grew up with Grease and have watched the production (movie and musical) evolve and change over time. It may also have been that former star of Laverne & Shirley, Eddie Mekka had just been on stage pumping up the crowd with song and dance.
Alyssa Herrera is ravishingly pretty and at times may come across as too nice to be as uptight, priggish and frumpy as the original Sandy is meant to be but despite that, the audience is still right there rooting for her and Danny to figure things out. Matt Nolan who is best known for his appearance on NBCâ€™s â€œGrease: Youâ€™re the One that I Wantâ€ shows talent, charisma and charm on stage proving that although he might not have been ready to take the stage back then, he certainly is ready now. Together the two lack some of the pizzazz, flare and spice that Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta presented but when transforming a movie to a play or vice versa there are plenty of things that get lost in the shuffle.
The only problem with this production may be the story itself — cut up, doctored, and rearranged. The subplot takes over the main plot, so it’s Kenickie and Rizzo who dominate. We connect more with them and watch their story develop as opposed to Danny and Sandy. “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” is misplaced. Sandy’s “Devoted to You” is too little, and way too late and the big act one finale â€œWe Go Togetherâ€ feels weak without the help of the ensemble. Also, if you’re waiting for the great car, Grease Lightning, to have any meaningÂ watch the movie instead. It makes an appearance but since there’s no drag race, there’s no point; however to back track none of this is fault of the actors, who did the job they were told to do and in fact did it well.
Standouts among the T-Birds are Patrick Cragin, as the tough-talking Kenickie who revs up his hot rod with “Greased Lighnin’â€ and Marc Winski, as Doody, shines during â€œThose Magic Changesâ€
As for the Pink Ladies, the combination of talent between Lauren Elaine Taylor (Rizzo), Alicia Kelly (Marty), Lauren Turner (Jan) and Ashley Rubin (Frenchy) is remarkable. The foursome show moments of real acting and singing genius during their scenes.
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The Denver Center for Performing Arts
Located on Speer and Arapahoe