A tuneful blast from the past at Marriott Theatre
For the second time, Marriott Theatre has turned back the clock with a red-hot production of “Grease.”
The company has reprised its 2007 in-the-round presentation of the lively 1950s rock ‘n’ roll musical whose roots go back to Chicago in February 1957.
“Grease,” featuring catchy music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is in good hands under Scott Weinstein’s direction and William Carlos Angulo’s choreography.
A fair share of the songs in this production are keepers, including “Summer Nights,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Greased Lightnin’ ” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski (Jimmy Nicholas and Leyn Turlington, respectively) hit home as standout leads. They are paired well with the rest of Weinstein’s superior cast.
Everyone has a tale to share in this show. Landree Fleming, as the indecisive Frenchy, hasn’t a clue about the ramifications of dropping out of school.
Jacqueline Jones, in the role of Betty Rizzo, leads the Pink Ladies, a club where the “cool” girls hang out, but she comes across as a cynic who keeps her feelings under wraps.
Jonathan Butler-Duplesis’ heartfelt delivery of the “Teen Angel” number drew loud applause.
Among other performers in the cast are Kevin Corbett, Jake Elkins, Michael Kurowski, Michelle Lauto, Garrett Lutz, Jessica Palkovic, Billy Rude, Allison Sill, Kyra Sorce, Tiffany T. Taylor, Marco Tzunuz and Alaina Wis.
The storyline focuses on teenage angst as (fictitious) Rydell High School students face the challenges of on-again, off-again relationships.
Other timeless issues that come to light in “Grease” are rebellious teens, peer pressure, gang violence and sexual exploration. After all, it was the era to experiment with cigarette smoking, cheap wine consumption and do-it-yourself ear piercing.