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Grease Review

Jordan Wright
Local Kicks and Whisk and Quill
February 2010

Cast of Grease at the Hard Rock Cafe after party - photo by Jordan Wright

Grease is one of those throwback shows that will always delight baby boomers who define their teen years by hot rods, high school and high hair. Apparently the allure has recently transcended the genre because I was quite surprised to see so many 20- and 30-somethings in the audience singing along with the 50’s tunes.

The production opens up with the high-energy Dominic Fortuna as Vince, warming up the mostly local crowd and “greasing” the wheels for the evening. He exudes song bits and shtick, instructing the audience in a seated version of the Monkey, the Swim and the Funky Chicken. But all this comes to nought in a production that never coheres. There’s plenty of talent in the dancing and singing, especially the a capella moments, though Lauren Ashley Zakrin, playing goody-goody turned hipster, Sandy, was pitchy in places in her solos.

Ace Young after the show - photo by Jordan Wright

As for former American Idol contender, Ace Young, he nails his role with brio…his voice clear, strong and sexy…his dancing dead on.

“I was a football player and all-round athlete in high school,” he told me at the cast party. When I asked him how long it took to learn the complex routines he said, “I had two weeks of rehearsal, but I’ve always been a good dancer.”

Taylor Hicks of Grease at the National Theatre - photo by Jordan Wright

The night turned starry when former Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, playing Teen Angel, sprung from a giant ice cream cone in a blue sequined suit, his riveting personality electrifying the audience who shrieked and applauded his raspy country singing and bluesy harmonica playing. Note to his agent: Hicks soulfulness could use a more appropriate vehicle than a be-bop forum.

When Hicks sings “Beauty School Dropout” to Frenchy, played by Kate Morgan Chadwick, he goes all googly-eyed as she twists his chest hair telling him, “I voted for you.” – a reference to the Idol competition.

This Grease could have shown more oomph but see it for the nostalgia and see it for the talented Ace and Taylor.

For comments or questions on this article contact me at Jordan@WhiskandQuill.com.

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