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'Grease' gets re-energized in the round of Marriott Theatre

The entire globe knows the mega movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, but all the magic of “Grease” actually began right here in Chicago with the original stage musical.

Since the early 1970s, it’s been a regular on Broadway and West End, plus numerous regional revivals, including a current run at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire that’s filled with localized references.

Today’s incarnation isn’t as gritty as origins, though it also steers clear of total Hollywood sanitization, giving it just the right measurements of controversy and comedy with an audience of all ages in mind.

Led by the firecracker Jimmy Nicholas as Danny, the sweetly sensitive Leryn Turlington as Sandy, plus the vivacious Jacquelyne Jones as Rizzo, everyone is clearly aware of this show’s seismic impact on the pop culture Richter scale, treating it not only with the care of a classic, but re-energizing the dialogue, solos, costumes and choreography to extend its appeal.

“Grease” may be set in the fictional setting of Rydell High School circa the late 1950s, but its themes of peer pressure, conflict, rebellion, a possible crisis pregnancy, and ultimately, the lasting bonds of friendship can certainly apply to any generation.

It’s all backed by a soundtrack stacked with “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” “You’re The One That I Want,” “We Go Together” and so many others that have long transcended any particularly period, all of which appear (sans the title track from the movie that was added later) in their karaoke-ready glory.

Given the fact the venue is laid out in the round, it also allows attendees in any section to have an unobstructed sightline, while the cast’s coming and going throughout the aisles adds to the intimacy and enjoyment.

Thanks to that type of extended care by the Marriott, alongside so many timeless aspects that are a mere year away from reaching the half-century mark, “Grease” is absolutely still the word.