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Review: Pioneer Theatre Company's GREASE is Nostalgic

By: May. 14, 2019
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Review: Pioneer Theatre Company's GREASE is Nostalgic  Image

GREASE at Pioneer Theatre Company is a nostalgic, feel-good snapshot of the 1950s.

GREASE (book, music, and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey) is the successful 1971 musical with two Broadway revivals, an iconic 1978 movie adaptation, and a recent live television production. After a summer fling, teens Sandy and Danny meet each other again at school, but life is more complicated now that they need to impress their friends, who are all also looking for the right mate.

For this production, the decision was made to adhere closer to the original, pre-movie version, including two songs typically replaced by their movie counterparts: "Alone at a Drive-in Movie" and "All Choked Up." ("Hopelessly Devoted to You" from the movie is incorporated, and "You're the One that I Want" is added post-bows.)

The result of these choices, as well as Karen Azenberg's direction/choreography and the design, is a sweet, goofy depiction of 1950s youth. More than any one plotline, the point is nostalgia.

The costumes by Patrick Holt bring to life the iconic characters in a soft, period-accurate style. The large, imposing sets by James Noone create an intimate space for the small cast to play while evoking a simpler time.

Pascal Pastrana is appealing as Danny with a puppy dog side, and Emma Hearn is earnest but strong as Sandy.

Alex Kidder is perfect as tough-as-nails Rizzo with a secretly caring heart that sometimes peeps through.

Other memorable members of the cast include Kate Cassidy Ryan as Jan, Michael Schimmele as Roger, and Pepe Nufrio as Doody.

GREASE plays through May 25, 2019. For tickets, call the box office at 801-581-6961 or visit

Photo Credit: GREASE cast.


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