Kravis Chronicles: ‘Grease’ is still the word


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BACK TO RYDELL: The Kravis Center of Performing Arts invited me to attend a dress rehearsal of their recent production “Grease” presented by the MNM Theatre Company.

One of the most timeless musicals in history, Grease, was brought out onto the stage in West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for Performing Arts.

Grease, to those who have seen the film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, remember it as the funny and exciting story of bad boy Danny Zuko and good girl Sandy Dumbrowski’s whirlwind romance set in the 1950s, featuring some catchy tunes like “We Go Together” and the famous “You’re The One That I Want.”

I found that the overall performance of Grease was really fun and enjoyable. The songs are catchy and make you want to dance in your seat—especially “Born To Hand Jive”—and the witty and snarky dialogue between the characters feels natural, not forced. It takes you back (or relates) to some fun high school experiences.

As someone who’s only been familiar with the film version of Grease, the fact that the play centered more on the T-Birds and Pink Ladies than Danny and Sandy surprised me, but in a good way.

While in the film, the characters of members of the T-Birds and Pink Ladies, like Marty and Doody, were small and pretty much insignificant. In this version, the characters are fleshed out, even getting to sing their own songs like “Freddy, My Love” and “Those Magic Changes.”

Although the musical doesn’t touch on the romance as much as the film, there was the feeling that there was still something off about it.

I do believe that there could have been better chemistry between the two leads, Danny (Jonah Robinson) and Sandy (Caiti Marlowe). On their own, they put on strong performances—especially Robinson— and have great voices significant for their parts, but together they didn’t exactly convince me that they were madly in love with each other.

One performance that I really liked and stuck with me was the portrayal of the back-talking, eye-rolling, fearless leader of the Pink Ladies, Rizzo by Laura Plyler.

Plyer nailed the role in my opinion, expressing the character’s fiery sarcastic attitude while taking a drag from her cigarette like a true rebellious teenager. Especially during her solo, “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” where you really see the vulnerable side of her, and get in touch with what she’s feeling in that moment.

As for the set, I think that the production designers and set decorators did a fantastic job. The way that all the major locations like Rydell High School and the Drive-In were all incorporated into one big set onstage was very creative. My favorite part of the set I’d have to say was the secret compartment behind the school courtyard wall, which revealed the stylishly red Greased Lightning car during the iconic rock n’ roll-powered T-Birds performance, “Greased Lightning.”

All in all, I’d like to congratulate the whole cast, the MNM Theatre Company, choreographer Emily Tarallo, and stage/assistant stage managers James Danford and Arianna Ortiz for their amazing production of this musical that kept me happily in my seat until the last note of “You’re The One That I Want” and then clapping like crazy afterwards. They really brought the 50’s greaser-style magic to life.

So, yeah, Grease is still the time, the place, the motion, and the way that I’m feeling.