BWW Review: GREASE at D Cube Art Center, 'All New Musical! Newtro GREASE!'
Colorful lights began to flash as the orchestra started playing the first note. With a large bang, the led screens began to move upward revealing actors with black leather jackets posing, another bang now there were women with pink jackets. Suddenly, the actors all came out together and began to sing and dance; this is how GREASE the musical started. Returning from a four-year gap, this season's GREASE was beyond comparison with any of the previous productions in that it was an upgraded version, performing at a larger venue with an entirely new cast. The new production of GREASE opened on April 30th at the D Cube Art Center.
"Newtro" is the main keyword of the new version of GREASE. The combination of two words, 'new' and 'retro,' the show focuses on showing a new version of the most representative retro rock and roll musical. GREASE has a long history with the first production opening in the year of 1971. The first Korean production of GREASE was in 2006 and has been produced over and over again annually as it gained much popularity among the Korean audience. One aspect that was new and stood out for this year's production was the set design and usage of video. The set design mostly consisted of video screens surrounding the pentagonal stage. The screens constantly showed different videos to show the change of location and according to the video, some set pieces were arranged to add more detail. Though the videos were excellent enough to serve the purpose of set design, it seemed like the stage was too bare because there were not enough practical set pieces on the large stage floor.
When GREASE was announced to be reproduced for a new season, it gained much attention mainly for two reasons. First of all, the casts were all new actors and the ensemble was consisted of rookie actors who were making their debut. As it is common in Korean productions for the original actors to participate in the revivals, having a full cast of new and young actors was definitely refreshing for many of the Korean audience. Secondly, GREASE was the start of a new project called "Popsical" for OD Company, the Korean producer of GREASE. "Popsical," a combined word of "pop" and "musical," is a new project that the company had been for planning several years. The goal of OD Company was to blur the division between musicals and pop music by making a pop artist group consisted of musical actors, showing that they are capable of doing both. Prior to the opening of the show, the adult ensemble of GREASE was divided into two pop artist groups with the same name of their clique in GREASE, T-Birds and Pink Ladies. They each released a song and made their debut as pop artists before the premieres of GREASE. Due to this new attempt, the audience was already buzzing with excitement for this production of GREASE.
GREASE is a fun and exciting show with famous rock and roll music that everybody could enjoy. While still maintaining the retro image, this year's production definitely upgraded it by adding vivid videos and bringing in new actors to join the journey. However, as this show is a musical with a very long history and times has passed since when it was first produced in 1971, the message of the story seemed a bit outdated. Except for that, it is truly a show anybody could enjoy with ease. GREASE has its last performance on August 11th. Tickets start at 36,000 KRW and can be purchased online at www.globalinterpark.com or at the box office. Please check for discounts and the cast prior to purchasing tickets.
For more information, please visit www.globalinterpark.com.
Photo Credit: OD Company