Saturday, September 30, 2006

Grease Review

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to see the closing performance of Grease. It was a sold out show. In fact, since I ushered for the show, I ended up sitting upstairs with the spotlights and tech crew. Sometimes this cut the actor’s heads off from my view, but I’ll ignore that for now.

Grease is a great play; if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s quite different from the movie - great 50s music, great characters, and a cute, if shallow, plotline. Well, those things are all in common with the movie, but the plot and characters are a bit different.

I’m going to be biased for a moment here. The show opens with my sister, Erica, leading the action as Ms. Lynch. I’ve seen every show that she’s been in, and this was definitely the most different, and consequently challenging, role I’ve seen her play. She did a great job bringing a character much older than herself to life; I was really impressed. Okay, I’m done being biased now.

The staging was good, the choreography was adorable and appropriate, and the costumes were cute. I’m sure I missed the full effect, as I was watching it from above, but the staging was still quite varied and interesting from my perspective. One of the more interesting things, I thought, was the use of amplification. Two wireless stand microphones were kept on either side of the stage, and were utilized every time a solo song was sung. It worked rather well – body mikes were not needed, and everyone sounded excellent, loud and clear.

Sandy and the Pink Ladies – really, all the high school female characters - were great. From Rizzo to Frenchie, they were all cast fantastically. I enjoyed how each embraced their character and really contributed to the truly solid ensemble – a whole that was much greater than the sum of its parts could be. They did an excellent job. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about the character gentlemen. Well, most of them were decent. Moony was fantastic. Kinike and Doody were pretty good. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with Danny. He seemed not to fit in with the cast both physically and emotionally. His singing was off most of the time. I’ve seen this actor in various other plays in which he acted and sang wonderfully, so I’m not really sure what happened in this show.

The ‘adult’ characters were cute as well – I especially enjoyed seeing David Temple (the classical guitarist) as a ‘rock star’; he did a great job playing electric guitar and singing “Hand Jive”.

The only thing that disappointed me about the show was the underutilization of the ensemble. There were some fantastic actors in the cast – my favorite being an energetic Michael Torbert – that were barely used. In fact, some scenes looked barren and strange because there were so few actors on stage. Big happy group songs seemed strange without everyone joining in. For the few numbers the ensemble was in, though, they danced and sang their hearts out, and did a wonderful job.

Overall, it was a great show, as I was expecting. As I said, it’d be hard to be disappointed with Grease.


kat said...

Your sister is a fabulous actress. Engaging and reliable. I loved watching her in Grease and look forward to seeing her in Oliver.

Michael said...

Thanks Gale for the wonderful review! I'm glad to see that you liked my energy!

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