Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: North Carolina Theatre's GREASE

Set in 1959, Grease tells the story of ten working-class teenagers as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values, and love in their senior year of high school.

The musical first premiered at the Kingston Mines Club in Chicago back in 1971. It then opened off-Broadway on February 14th, 1972, under first class Broadway contracts. Because of that, the off-Broadway production was deemed eligible for the 1972 Tony Awards where it earned seven nominations (including Best Musical). Grease then made its transfer to Broadway on June 7th, 1972 where it became one of the longest-running shows in history. It has since spawned two Broadway revivals, an enormously successful 1978 film adaptation, and the recent successful live television production on FOX.

While Grease Live did just air over a week ago, I will not be making any comparisons at all during this review because this production currently playing at North Carolina Theatre through February 14th easily stands on its own!

Directed by Broadway veteran Hunter Foster and choreographed by his wife Jennifer Cody (both of which appeared in the 1994 Broadway revival), the entire staging feels energetic from start to finish, just like a Broadway production!

This show is very much an ensemble piece led by a pair of well matched leads, Raleigh native John Arthur Greene (recently seen on American Idol) as Danny Zuko and Emily Behny as Sandy Dumbrowski. Greene is strong and confident in his role as he goes from macho man to nice guy throughout the show in order to win the heart of his true love. Behny is very sweet in her role as the good girl who later changes her image in order to win the heart of Danny.

The rest of the cast gets their own moments to shine. Michael Warrell as Danny's best friend Kenickie; Lauren Cipoletti as the tough, sarcastic, and outspoken Betty Rizzo; Matthew Rodin as the small and boyish Doody; Lily Tobin as Sandy's good natured best friend, Frenchy; Casey Shane as the wannabe tough guy, Sonny LaTierri; Ryah Nixon as the charming Pink Lady, Marty; F. Michael Haynie as mischievous clown, Roger; and Amy Toporek as the bubbly Pink Lady, Jan.

Other highlights in the cast include Carly Prentis Jones' comedic performance as the headmistress of Rydell High School, Miss Lynch; Adam Poole's energetic performance as the fast-talking radio disc jockey, Vince Fontaine; and Malcolm Armwood's shining performance as Teen Angel. Not to mention a great use of the NCT conservatory students in the ensemble.

With some colorful lighting designed by Charlie Morrison, great humor, and and energetic musical numbers that should leave people dancing in their seats all night long, audiences should be in for a GREAT TIME! The only possible criticism I could give this production is that I felt it should've been longer because I was having so much fun watching it!



Interview: Chatting With Cora Hemphill & Tim Arts of Firebox Theatre Company Photo
One of the newer theatre companies in the Triangle Area is Firebox Theatre Company. It's located in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I had the great pleasure of interviewing both of the founders, Cora Hemphill & Tim Artz, about all of this and more.

Voting Now Open For The 2022 BroadwayWorld Raleigh Awards Photo
Voting is now open for the 2022 BroadwayWorld Raleigh Awards! Nominations were reader-submitted and now our readers get to vote for their favorites.

 BWW Review: Elf the Musical Photo
Elf, which was released in 2003, has undoubtedly achieved that status with its endlessly quotable lines and endearingly funny performance by Will Ferrell as Buddy. Many of these beloved holiday films have been adapted for the stage, like White Christmas and A Christmas Story, so it’s natural that Elf has received the same treatment.

Fourth Show Added For Trevor Noah at Durham Performing Arts Center, March 27, 2023 Photo
By popular demand, a fourth show has been added for Trevor Noah.  Comedian kicks off world tour by visiting 28 Cities across the United States, including four nights in Durham, NC at DPAC on Friday, March 24, Saturday, March 25, Sunday, March 26, and Monday, March 27, 2023.


From This Author - Jeffrey Kare

Jeffrey Kare currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. Having been born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Jeffrey took interest in live theater at age 11. He also had the great pleasure of seeing s... (read more about this author)


Interview: Chatting With Cora Hemphill & Tim Arts of Firebox Theatre CompanyInterview: Chatting With Cora Hemphill & Tim Arts of Firebox Theatre Company
December 2, 2022

One of the newer theatre companies in the Triangle Area is Firebox Theatre Company. It's located in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I had the great pleasure of interviewing both of the founders, Cora Hemphill & Tim Artz, about all of this and more.

Review: HAIRSPRAY National Tour at Durham Performing Arts CenterReview: HAIRSPRAY National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
November 17, 2022

Based on John Waters' 1988 cult film of the same name, Hairspray takes place in Baltimore, Maryland in the year 1962. The story centers on a plump teenage girl named Tracy Turnblad, whose lifelong dream is to dance on the local TV dance program known as The Corny Collins Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show and becomes an overnight sensation, she launches a campaign to integrate the show.

Review: North Carolina Theatre's STEEL MAGNOLIASReview: North Carolina Theatre's STEEL MAGNOLIAS
November 6, 2022

Set in Chinquapin, Louisiana during the late 1980s, Steel Magnolias takes place in Truvy's beauty salon where all the ladies who are 'anybody' come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle (who is not sure whether or not she is still married), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to several of her friends.

Interview: Kathleen Garrett of North Carolina Theatre's STEEL MAGNOLIASInterview: Kathleen Garrett of North Carolina Theatre's STEEL MAGNOLIAS
November 2, 2022

From November 4th-13th, North Carolina Theatre will be launching their 2022-23 season with a production of Robert Harling's STEEL MAGNOLIAS at A.J. Fletcher Opera Theatre, which is located inside Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Actress Kathleen Garrett is taking on the role of Ouiser Boudreaux. She has most recently appeared as Laura Bush on the Showtime series, THE FIRST LADY, as well as Netflix's Emmy nominated miniseries, INVENTING ANNA. Next, she'll be seen on NCIS: LOS ANGELES. She has countless other screen credits which includes appearing on episodes of different TV shows such as HOME IMPROVEMENT, ER, MURDER, SHE WROTE, MURPHY BROWN, THE WEST WING, BEVERLY HILLS, 90210, MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, LAW & ORDER, and many more. She's also appeared in Oscar nominated films such as 2007's AMERICAN GANGSTER directed by Ridley Soctt and 2020's THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 directed by Aaron Sorkin. I had the great pleasure of interviewing her about a lot of this and more.

Review: FROZEN National Tour at Durham Performing Arts CenterReview: FROZEN National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
September 16, 2022

Based on Disney's 2013 Academy Award-winning animated movie musical of the same name as well as Hans Christian Andersen's 1844 fairy tale, The Snow Queen, Frozen follows two royal sisters named Anna and Elsa. Read our review of the stage show, based on the blockbuster film, which eventually became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time at the worldwide box office (before it was eventually dethroned by Frozen II six years later).