July 16, 2017
Anthony Hazzard & Scott Stolzenberg
“Grease,” the 1950’s rock and roll musical is back and slick as ever at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport. Expertly directed by Paul Stancato and brilliantly choreographed by Antoinette DiPietropolo, this production of “Grease” combines all of the magical moments from the original 1972 Broadway production as well as the one of the most successful Hollywood movie musicals ever. Danny, Sandy, Frenchie, Kenickie and the whole gang from Rydell High School are alive and well on stage and seem to be having the time of their lives!
Lead by the outstanding Broadway star Liana Hunt as Sandy and regional favorite Sam Wolf as Danny, “Grease” takes us back to a much simpler time when poodle skirts, hula hoops, and drive-in movies were all the rage. We head back to high school in 1959 with a great gang of greasers known as the T-Birds and a troop of no-nonsense young ladies who call themselves the Pink Ladies. Despite growing pains, peer pressure, on-again off-again romances, and typical teenage angst, the kids make it through their senior year at Rydell High and everything turns out a rama lama ding dong.
Each cast member has the opportunity to shine as they sing and dance across the Engeman stage and into our retro hearts. Zach Erhardt as Doody has a terrific voice and adds an impressive falsetto to his song “Those Magic Changes.” Laura Helm is wonderful as Marty as she dreams of Freddy her love. Chris Stevens is a sensational Kenickie and Madeleine Barker is a perfect Betty Rizzo. Chris Collins-Pisano as Roger and Hannah Slabaugh as Jan are great fun. Tim Falter is in fine vocal form as Teen Angel/Vince Fontaine as well as Robert Serrano as Johnny Casino. Comic relief is provided by the delightful Sari Alexander as Frenchie and charming Casey Shane as Sonny. Rounding out the multitalented cast are Tracy Bidleman as a superior Miss Lynch, Kaitlin Nelson as high achiever Patty Simcox, Tim Russell as nerdy but sweet Eugene Florczyk, and dance sensation Katherine Margo Brown as Cha-Cha.
The live band is conducted by Alex Bart and there is nothing like live music! “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “You’re The One That I Want,” “We Go Together,” and so many other gems from the ever popular “Grease” score have all become standard hits. “Grease” was the word on Broadway in 1972 and will always be successful in every future production. The show is a genuine slice of Americana and the gang at the Engeman certainly did America proud!