Grease – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Imagine yourself in the halls of high school, Rydell High to be exact, whether it is in your past, present or future. It’s time to don a black leather jacket, pedal pushers, or a dress with a dozen crinolines and start practicing your hand jive moves. Slick back your hair and get ready to groove and cruise with some of the coolest cats from the fifties. Rydell High is ready to open for a another school year as a spanking new production of that perennial favorite “Grease” comes to the stage of the Ivoryton Playhouse until Sunday, July 29.

Sandy Dumbrowski, a sweet and naive Kimberly Immanuel, and Danny Zuko, a hipster bad boy in Johnny Newcomb, are ready to make musical magic once again as the Pink Ladies lock lips with the T-Birds in this joyful and spirited teenage rebellion written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey way back in 1971.

It’s rock and roll heaven as Sandy and Danny reunite after a brief summertime romance. Soon the girls (Alyssa V. Gomez, Taylor Lloyd, Audrey Wilson) are piercing Sandy’s ears and talking about the boys at a pajama party while the guys (Luke Linsteadt, Taylor Morrow, Natale Pirrotta, Max Weinstein) steal hub caps for Kenickie’s new used car he has named “Greased Lightnin’.” Amy Buckley is the teacher in charge, Johnny Cortez plays guitar, Alexa Racioppi is the head cheerleader, Shalani Taylor is the rival school’s guest dance partner and Cory Candelet is the class nerd.

Because of a misunderstanding with Danny, Sandy misses the High School Hop. He is initially too cool to acknowledge his feelings for the new girl at school, Sandy, especially after he lied to his pals about her fast ways. At the hop, Vince Fontaine, a popular radio disc jockey, is played by Lawrence Cummings. He also does double duty as the understanding Teen Angel who counsels Frenchy (Katelyn Bowman) to go back to high school after a failed attempt at beauty school. As MC, Vince spins the records and oversees the dance contest where the best hand jive couple wins.

The kids change partners, a gang is challenged to a rumble, Danny tries to win Sandy back and Sandy tries to change herself to fit in at Rydell High.

Great songs like “Born to Hand Jive,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Greased Lightnin’, ” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Queen,” “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” and “We Go Together” pepper the scenes. Michael Morris leads the band at a lively pitch. A versatile set designed by Daniel Nischan serves as lunch room, lockers, prom hall, bedrooms, the burger palace and movie drive in. Todd L. Underwood directs all the energetic action at a fever pitch.

For tickets ($55, senior $50, students $22, children $17), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Water’s Edge Resort and Spa is partnering with the Ivoryton Playhouse to sponsor a series of dinner and cabaret-style performances throughout the summer, “What I Did for Love” on Sunday, July 15, “La Dolce Vita” on Sundays, July 22 and August 12 and “Summer Nights” on Sunday, August 19 and 25. For tickets ($59, plus tax and gratuity), call Water’s Edge at 860-399-5901or online at www.watersedgeresortandspa.com.

Will wholesome and pure Sandy Dumbrowski find love and happiness with the cocky and handsome Danny Zuko? Cha-cha over to the Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton and find out for yourself. You’ll be delighted you did.

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