Review Roundup: GREASE at Pittsburgh CLO; What Did The Critics Think?
Pittsburgh CLO will fill the Benedum Center with the sock-hop sounds of the original high school musical, GREASE, June 7 - 16. Check out video of the production below!
Superstar of stage and silver screen and American Idol favorite Clay Aikenstars as Teen Angel, with former 'Wicked' star Jackie Burnsas Rizzo, Anastasia's Zach Adkinsas Danny Zuko, and RISE star Damon J. Gilllespie as Doody!
Since making its Broadway debut in 1972, Grease, the story of innocent, lovesick Sandy and bad-boy Danny attempting to rekindle a summer romance, has been captivating audiences of all generations. Take a rock 'n' roll trip back to the 1950s with electrifying choreography and unforgettable hits from the iconic movie including: "You're The One That I Want," "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightnin'" and many more.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Let's start by saying Clay Aiken in a pink-sequined suit is everything fun and fanciful about "Grease," and his voice takes "Beauty School Dropout" to glorious heights. Now that I've fanned myself, this Pittsburgh CLO "Grease" is a hybrid of the Broadway play and the movie - it uses the music created just for the film, opening with the title song and including "You're the One That I Want" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You." This CLO production isn't just a blast from the past; it's also a fun night for Pittsburgh musical theater fans to see local actors such as Melessie Clark, Mei Lu Barnum, Andrea Weinzierl and Michael Greer get front-and-center moments. The energy level is high, but there's no question it steps up a notch when Clay Aiken struts out in the second act and gives Pittsburgh a taste of why his Claymates are hopelessly devoted to the former American Idol.
Lisa Cunningham, Pittsburgh City Paper: If there were any doubt that the American Idolalumnus is still popular, one only needed to listen to the thunderous applause and squeals erupting throughout the Benedum Center on opening night as Aiken sang "Beauty School Dropout" in silver platform shoes, a sparkling pink suit, and Beethoven-like wig. But there's still plenty for fans of the popular production to enjoy during the rest of the performance as well, whether you're a fan of the 1978 film, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, or the original stage production - which, on opening night, coincidentally celebrated its 47th anniversary of moving to the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway on June 7, 1972.
Laura Caton, Pittsburgh in the Round: This production does a wonderful job of delivering Grease as expected, but it brings out certain threads in the material that made me reconsider my assumptions as well. Though there is that classic boys-versus-girls dichotomy observed in nearly every scene, the strong casting here allows for truly equal weight and importance to be given to each half of the equation. And despite the much-maligned ending of the film, Sandy at the end of this production isn't subsuming her identity into Danny's as much as mocking that very idea. The message, then, has less to do with girls accommodating boys than teenagers trying on different identities to find a middle ground between extremes that are easy to perform but don't add much value to anyone's lives. There's more nuance in this story than it's often given credit for, a fact this production highlights beautifully.