Pink Ladies, T-Birds, and a fully functional automobile on stage? Tell me more, tell me more! Chestnut Hill Academy and Springside School's joint production of Grease featured all of these and more in a plucky performance of the wildly popular 1972 musical, famous mostly for the 1978 movie adaptation featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
Grease, the quintessential high school musical, follows the lives and loves of the Pink Ladies and T-Birds of Rydell High School. Straight-laced new girl Sandy Dumbrowski and bad boy Danny Zuko meet on the first day of school on the heels of their short-lived summer love affair, and Sandy is left questioning who she is after Danny decides she's too much of a goody two shoes for his reputation.
This particular production was not without its faults, as the cast at times lacked the energy that is necessary to carry a show such as Grease. They made up for it, however, with a clear showing of effort, and some exceedingly talented vocalists, actors and actresses who helped to make the show consistently engaging.
Casey Sullivan proved to be a convincing Sandy, capturing her innocence and wholesomeness with uncommon candor. She also showed herself to be an outstanding vocalist, her clear voice soaring on numbers such as "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Summer Nights." Tate Sager developed an exceptionally sympathetic Danny, and he took to the character with a delightfully determined zeal. His touching rendition of "Sandy" highlighted this as he earnestly expressed Danny's sincere feelings for her.
The Pink Ladies were a delight, as not only did all of the individual members hold their own with tight dialogue and many songs, but they also worked well together and presented a believable air of close friendship. Stephanie Sherman was a standout as Jan, and showed impeccable comedic timing throughout the show. Alec Rankin also gave an inspired performance as Kenickie, exhibiting a combination of grit and meanness that commanded the stage.
The technical aspects of the show also proved to be somewhat mixed. On the one hand, the sound was at times nearly unintelligible, although sound never can be easy to manage in shows with such large casts. However, the makeup was flattering and true to the era, and looked nearly professionally done. Similarly, the stage crew did an impressive job managing a massive set with relative stealth, although at times the musical intervals between set changes dragged.
Few shows are quite as much fun as Grease, and Chestnut Hill Academy and Springside School's production proved to be no exception.