After a whirlwind summer romance, two high school students return to classes not realizing they're going to the same school. He's a greaser punk, she's a good girl who never takes any chances. Can their love blossom in the halls of Rydell High? Danny Zucco seems to only want to impress his buddies by telling stories of "scoring" with a girl. Sandy Dumbrowski just wants the guy she met over the summer, the romantic, sensitive guy.
If any of this sounds familiar, it may be that you've seen a 1978 cult classic film by the name of "Grease." If it doesn't, you'd better read on. The film was based on a ridiculously long running musical that started not on Broadway, but in Chicago in 1971. Eventually landing in New York, the popular musical has been revived, redone and now it's landing in Rhode Island like greased lightning.
Theatre by the Sea continues its tradition of well produced musicals with this spirited production. The T-Birds Danny (Zach Trimmer,) Roger (Aaron Fried,) Sonny (Chris Kane,) Doody (Joshua Charles Skurnik) and Kenickie (Chris Stevens) are at odds with the Pink Ladies. The girls are played by Becca Andrews (Sandy,) Elizabeth Flanagan (Frenchy,) Chloe Fox (Rizzo,) Jenna Rubaii (Marty) and MiMi Scardulla (Jan.) When Danny realizes that Sandy is going to Rydell, all hell breaks loose.
The girls try to make Sandy forget Danny when he snubs her in front of his buddies. Not wanting to show his true feelings, he acts "cool," making Sandy confused. The Pink Ladies are willing to be a little bit bad, trying to show our good girl how to smoke, and pierce her ears! The T-Birds are just looking for love as well, but keeping the bad boy images always gets in the way. The main thrust of the show is the interaction between these two groups, culminating in a dance contest at the school.
The actors are extremely well cast in this production. Trimmer as Danny has the good looks and edgy voice, he conveys his inner bad boy and sweetheart equally. Andrews' Sandy is cute, reserved and perfect for her role, with a grand singing voice. The male friends are all a treat, notably Roger (Fried,) whose comedic timing is evident, and Doody (Skurnik,) all shy and incredibly adorable.
The girls are fantastic as well. Rizzo (Fox) is great as the "loose" chick, Flanagan as Frenchy is delightful, especially during "Beauty School Dropout," and Scardulla's Jan is the one to watch, as she mugs through her scenes, threatening to steal them. And as the incredibly annoying but hilarious Patty Simcox, Amanda Paige delights, especially during her scenes with and equally funny Eugene (Jimmy Larkin.)
Director and Choreographer Kevin P. Hill utilizes his talented cast to full potential, and even the smaller TBTS stage comes alive with the production numbers "Greased Lightning" and "We Go Together." You don't have to drive all the way to Broadway to see a quality show, just Matunuck, RI. "Grease" is definitely the word here, if you need some summer lovin' don't miss this fun, upbeat show and you'll be singing along, guaranteed.
"Grease" runs through July 19 at Theatre By The Sea, 364 Cards Pond Road in Matunuck, RI 02879. For information or tickets, call 401-782-TKTS (8587) or visit www.theatrebythesea.com.