John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John lit up the cinema screen in GREASE, the unforgettable movie cult classic, released in 1978.
The Manly Musical Society is currently presenting the original musical which originally premiered in Chicago in 1971. The Society fills the stage with an energetic ensemble cast showcasing magnificent voices, each with unbounded energy, which bring back the rock ‘n’ roll 1950s in true greased-lightning style.
Bankstown Theatre Company (BTC) are currently celebrating the musical GREASE through a colourful and high energy revival. This 1950’s styled stage hit is familiar to many of us from the film release of 1978 starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta and remains a favourite several generations of fans.
BTC follows the trend of recent stage revivals by including songs inserted for the film but not part of the original show by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. In this performance the 1950’s musical genres are presented with desirable style by the band. Audiences will recognise the title track ‘Grease’ as written by Barry Gibb, Olivia Newton-John’s chart hit ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ and ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from the film’s climax.
Get ready to dust off your leather jackets, comb and oil up the hair and start dancing as everyone’s favourite jukebox musical is back, GREASE
This nostalgic play created by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey that made its Broadway debut in 1971 and the 1978 movie that made John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John household names is now playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne.
With a star studded cast that includes Bert Newton (Vince Fontaine), Todd McKenney (Teen Angel) Australian Idol alumni Rob Mills (Danny), and Anthony Callea (Johnny Casino), and upcoming talent Gretel Scarlett (Sandy), this high energy production will have audiences of all ages bopping along with all the old favourites such as You’re The One That I Want and Grease Is The Word.
It always works! Combine catchy songs, teenage love, lyrics that everyone in the audience knows and an infectious beat – and you have a sensational evening! In Australia we have had Johnny “O’Keefe – the Musical, Buddy Holly – the Musical and Peter Allen – the Boy from Oz, to mention a few, which successfully invoked this formula. You could go a hundred times and still want more!
GREASE is no different. From the moment disc jockey Vince Fontaine (aka Bert Newton) sets the 1950’s scene as the DJ, until the end when Sandy (Gretel Scarlett) turns into “The One that Danny Wants” the audience and the cast have a fun time. A few hours without the Global Financial Crisis or the collapse of the USA Debt Ceiling is a great tonic for the mind. Surprisingly perhaps, most of the audience were from 9 to 35 with only a sprinkling of Baby Boomers who first saw Harry Miller’s production in the 70’s.
The temptation to compare the stage production with the Travolta/Olivia movie will always be there, but this cast put their own stamp on it. We sat next to one of Australia’s emerging young musical stars, and he was constantly leaping to his feet, applauding the dancing of Rob Mills as Danny and marvelling at the incredible range of Gretel Scarlett’s voice.
There were plenty of audience participation segments, led by Principal Lynch (Val Lehman), which were enormous fun! She had the “boys” and “girls” in the audience singing along to “Summer Nights”, as she pointed to the lyrics on a whiteboard. There were big voices and shrieks of laughter all around!
The highlights of the evening were Todd McKinney as the Teen Angel singing “Beauty School Dropout” and the boys dancing in the shower room to ‘Those Magic Changes’. Rizzo (Lucy Maunder) singing “There Are Worse things I Could Do” was powerful and moving.
This does not rate as a show that you should see if you’ve nothing better to do. You must find time to see it, particularly if you are feeling a bit miserable about the outside world.
GREASE is playing the Lyric Theatre at the Star where it will run till the end of the year after which the show then moves to Melbourne.
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