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BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE

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Thankfully, these multiplying chills are not from COVID, but from Theatre Three's fantastically fun production of Grease, complete with an on-stage hot rod.

BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
Jon Sawyer Coffin; Jenna Kavaler
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger

It has been over a year and half since the world shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, I'm thrilled to say, Theater has returned. "Welcome back!" Oops, Wait I'm mixing-up my 1970's John Travolta pop culture references. "I got chills and they're multiplying" (that's better). Thankfully, these multiplying chills are not from COVID, but from Theatre Three's fantastically fun production of Grease, complete with an on-stage hot rod.

Grease originally premiered at Chicago's Kingston Mines Theater in 1971. After some revisions, Grease had its New York premiere off-Broadway in 1972, where it was met with critical acclaim resulting in an immediate Broadway transfer. It became the sixteenth longest running show in Broadway history. Not only did Grease shatter all kinds of theater records, it also broke some big screen ones as well. The film version of Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, is to date the highest grossing movie musical of all time. Since its premiere in 1978, the film has earned almost $400 million worldwide. Last year, the film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Many people ask why has Greaseearned all of these accolades. The answer...it is FUN! Thankfully, Theatre Three's production captures the fun and lets you revel in it.

Grease takes place in the 1950's. Jim Jacobs, who co-wrote the book, music and lyrics with Warner Casey, used his own high school experience as the basis for the show. If you haven't seen one of the three Broadway mounted productions or, live under a rock and have never seen the classic film adaptation, Grease is the story of star-crossed lovers Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski. After a whirlwind summer romance, Danny and Sandy must learn to deal with love's challenges. With the summer now over, will their love be able to survive against school, peer pressure and cliques? Mix-in the adventures and hilarious hijinks of "greaser" gang, the Burger Palace Boys/T-Birds, and their girlfriends, the Pink Ladies, and you have Grease.

The Acting Company at Theatre Three did a phenomenal job. Jon Sawyer Coffin and Jenna Kavaler both really made the roles of Danny and Sandy their own, as opposed to mimicking John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, which was quite refreshing. C.J. Russo and Eric Hughes

BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
Michelle LaBozzetta; C.J. Russo
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger

were both hilarious and charismatic as Doody and Roger. They really gave these characters new life especially musically with their performances of some of the score's underrated gems such as: "Those Magic Changes," "Mooning" (fabulously harmonized with newcomer Alanna Rose Henriquez) and "Rock and Roll Party Queen." Rachel Greenblatt and Heidi Jaye both give stand-out performances as Rizzo and Marty. I noticed from the Playbill that both Ms. Greenblatt and Ms. Jaye are music educators; all I can say is their students are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to hear them sing every day. Their voices are beautiful and will knock your socks off. Greenblatt provides one of the show's show-stopping moments with her raw performance of "There are Worst Things I Could Do." The other show-stopping moment came from the amazing talent that is Londel Collier. When I saw Theatre Three's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last season, Collier stopped the show with his performance of "Benjamin's Calypso." The winning streak continues with his soulful performance of "Beauty School Dropout." Mr. Collier was the perfect choice to portray Teen Angel as his voice is truly angelic. He is destined for stardom.

Jeffery Sanzel's brilliant casting and skillful direction once again results in triumph. It was truly a pleasure to experience Nicole Bianco's brilliant choreography again. Her "Born to Hand Jive" is absolutely infectious. Ronald Green III's colorful 1950's style costumes were beautiful and I especially loved his subtle nods to the film; from the silver barber capes and silver curlers piled high atop the ladies' heads during "Beauty School Dropout" to Rizzo's dress for the dance that is an exact replica of Stockard Channing's dress from the infamous hand-jive dance scene.

Theatre Three is currently celebrating its 51st season. Grease is running until October 30. If you go and see this amazing production of Grease, I know you'll agree that "Grease is the word!"

Welcome back readers! Please go out and support theater and the arts. This show is a great and safe opportunity to experience some normalcy. More importantly, it's a great opportunity to have some fun again!

You can view Theatre Three's COVID-19 protocols here: https://www.theatrethree.com

You can purchase tickets to see Grease here: https://www.theatrethreetickets.com/tickets

BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
Theatre Three's Grease Ensemble
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger
BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
Jon Sawyer Coffin; Jenna Kavaler
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger
BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
C.J.Russo; Darren Clayton; Steven Uihlein; Eric Hughes; Jon Sawyer Coffin
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger
BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
Alanna Rose Henriquez; Rachel Greenblatt; Heidi Jaye; Michelle LaBozzetta
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger
BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
Londel Collier; Theatre Three's Grease Ensemble
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger
BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
Michelle LaBozzetta; C.J. Russo
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger
BWW Review: You Will Be 'Hopelessly Devoted' to Theatre Three's Production of GREASE
Theatre Three's Grease Ensemble
Courtesy of Brian Hoerger

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