On a set that looks more West Side Story than Grease, the lives of these teenagers unfold on the gritty streets of Chicago as they deal with relationships, friendships, pregnancy, gangs, and school dances. The cast is mostly made up of high school and college kids, or recent graduates, which brings some very believable teen angst and youthful energy to the show. Jordan Oxborough is a natural as Danny, with the slicked back dark hair, pretty falsetto, and charm that all the ladies fall for. With her performance as Sandy, Megan Fischer proves that little Annie is all grown up. She's sweet and naive but with an underlying feistiness. And the two of them sound gorgeous together on the Danny/Sandy duets (just don't expect to hear "You're the One That I Want," written for the movie). Jill Iverson is a standout as Rizzo - tough on the outside and tender on the inside - and her beautifully nuanced rendition of "There are Worse Things I Could Do" is a definite highlight (she's excelled at playing misunderstood teens before). As the mooning Roger and constantly eating Jan, Michael Conroy and Christine Walth are adorable and funny. And Lucas John Beach sings "Beauty School Dropout" like an angel.
|oh, those summer nights! (photo by Mike Traynor)|
The ending of the movie has always bothered me, in which Sandy changes who she is in order to "win" Danny. But this feels less like that and more like a young woman who's growing up and trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. It's a more believable transition.
While it doesn't top last year's summer hit RENT (nothing ever could in this RENThead's opinion), Grease is another fun and edgy summer musical at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage in Anoka. Due to popular demand, it has been extended through August 9 but the additional shows will sell out fast if they haven't already, so make plans soon.