Many of us have grown up singing along with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John to the catchy tunes “Summer Lovin,” “Greased Lightning” and “We Go Together.” Nearly everyone is familiar with the well-loved musical Grease, making it a daunting task to put on.
Sticking too closely to the film adaptation can be a bore, but if it deviates too far from its roots, Grease could lose its unique appeal. Fortunately, King’s Players rose to the challenge and found a happy medium between the two. While all the classic tunes and witty one-liners remained, director Brikena Qamili varied the placement of several songs as well as the characters involved in them, putting a spin on a couple of the minor characters for some juicier roles. Quintessential Grease moves still had their place, while new choreography kept things interesting.
Maude Sheppard, playing the sweet Sandy Dumbrowski, did an admirable job of making Sandy’s journey into “Greaser girl” more believable by revealing glimpses of her teen angst, but her rebellion didn’t fully manifest until the final scene. Colt Forgrave, as Danny Zuko, was less obnoxious and more comical than Travolta’s rendition of the role, giving the character a new feel while he remained the cool ringleader of the Greaser gang. The Pink Ladies (Madison Stirling, Charlotte M-J, Breanne Pollard, Jess Jeffries) were gloriously crude, bickering best friends, the in-crowd that Sandy sought to become a part of. All demonstrating impressive singing and dancing abilities, they shone in this performance. Zuko’s buddies (Ben Jones, Ben McCabe, Matt Butler, Jake Spencer) similarly had a tight group dynamic that made their antics believable and a pleasure to watch.
Although the individual clusters of friends appeared intimate and realistic, the larger group scenes sometimes lacked the casual and easy air that made the more intimate performances so impressive. Nevertheless, in song and dance the cast came together flawlessly. In particular the “Beauty School Dropout” number was well received by the audience and for good reason—Adriano Burgo, playing Frenchy’s fantasy “fairy godmother,” lit up the stage with his entrance as the teen angel.
Although undertaking a performance of Grease is a challenge, even die-hard fans would not be disappointed by King’s Players’ rendition.