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GREASE

GREASE

Book, Music & Lyrics by Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey

Stolen Shakespeare Guild

Directed by – Lauren and Jason Morgan
Music Director – Lauren Morgan
Choreographer – Mary Jerome
Set Design – Jason Morgan
Costume Design – Lauren Morgan
Light Designer – Tyler Beard
Car and Props Designer – Jennifer Stewart
Stage Manager – Zak Loera


CAST
Taylor Vasek – Danny
Meredith Bennet – Sandy
Alfredo Tamayo – Kenickie
Megan Marissa Mock – Rizzo
Preston Isham – Roger
Sarah White – Jan
Lance McDougall – Doody
Natalie Hernández – Marty
Mikaela Baker – Frenchy
Bobby Rochelle – Sonny
Tanner Garmon – Eugene
Samantha Whitbeck – Patty Simcox
Fatima Austin – Cha-Cha/Ensemble
Brad Baker – Vince Fontaine
Trey Cardona – Johnny Casino/Ensemble
Larry Macklin – Teen Angel/Ensemble
Rebecca Deschner – Ensemble
Hanna Jennings – Ensemble
Sean Malloy – Ensemble
Kierstin Curtis – Miss Lynch
Julia Molina – Teacher


Reviewed Performance: 8/12/2017

Reviewed by Carol M. Rice, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Most people who are familiar with GREASE know the movie, starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, but the original musical version is very different from the film. For one thing, it’s much more of an ensemble piece instead of being a star vehicle, which really allows everyone their moments to shine.

And shine they do under the fine direction of husband/wife team Lauren and Jason Morgan. Ms. Morgan particularly does a nice job with all of the vocal elements of the show as music director. There wasn’t a sour note in the bunch at Rydell High School. In addition, Mary Jerome’s fun, energetic choreography was well-executed by not only the principals, but as well as the ensemble.

Truly standing out in the show was Taylor Vasek. His extremely athletic portrayal of heartthrob Danny Zuko. Vasek is a triple threat as he featured backflips during dance breaks of songs, possessed excellent acting chops, and a strong singing voice. His was one of the best musical performances I’ve seen in DFW this season.

Meredith Bennett’s Sandy was beautifully sung, but she wasn’t quite sweet and likeable enough. This may have been a directorial choice to make her a stronger female character, but it didn’t quite work. However, her heartbreaking rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” was just lovely.

Along the same lines, Megan Marissa Mock’s Rizzo seemed a bit too angry, thus it was hard to like her, too. Although she had a wonderful voice and her second act solo, “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” was a highlight of the show.

Sarah White as Jan was a joy to watch. She had tons of energy and incredible facial expressions, and could she dance! Natalie Hernández (Marty), Mikaela Baker (Frenchy), and Samantha Whitbeck (Patty Simcox) played and sang their roles with just the right amount of flair.

The T-Bird trio of Preston Isham (Roger), Lance McDougall (Doody), and Bobby Rochelle (Sonny) was a fun, geeky threesome which balanced the coolness of Danny and Kenickie. Isham, McDougall, and Rochelle sang beautifully as well. The songs they sang were generally relegated to background noise in the film, so it was nice to hear them done well. Alfredo Tamayo portrayed Kenicki with a smooth “Latin lover” feel, and he and Mock had some nice chemistry. Tanner Garmon obviously had a ball playing the nerdy Eugene, and he was fun to watch as well. Another vocal highlight was Larry Macklin’s Teen Angel singing “Beauty School Dropout.”

The remaining cast members and ensemble rounded out the show very well, although I occasionally wondered why the ensemble members were in some of the numbers that should have been just the T-Birds (or Burger Palace Boys, depending on whether you’re looking at the backs of their leather jackets or listening to the words). For instance, I just don’t think Danny and Kenickie would have allowed someone like Eugene to hang with them.

Mr. and Mrs. Morgan each wore many hats behind the scenes for this production of GREASE. Mr. Morgan designed the versatile set, and the various pieces turning and moving into place were great at representing all of the different locations required. Ms. Morgan acted not only as co-director and music director, but also as costume designer. All of the costumes were excellent. They not only looked perfect for the period but also complemented each character well.

Jennifer Stewart’s props, especially the greased lightning car, were also period appropriate and well-done while the lighting by Tyler Beard was bright and overall cheery. Although some special effects for the dance and the rumble scenes, for example, could have helped by providing some contrast.

The biggest problem I had with the show was the pace of the dialogue. Everyone talked so fast that it was often hard to understand them, and because they talked so fast, there was very little time for connections to be made and any emoting to occur. Yes, the pace should be fast, but not at the expense of the relationships, which is the crux of the show.

That being said, it was still very well done, and I recommend you go see it - especially if you’ve never seen GREASE onstage. The ensemble nature of the show is in sharp contrast to the star power of the popular film version, which is lots of fun to see.

GREASE
Stolen Shakespeare Guild
Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth, TX 76107
Runs through August 27

Actual days Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm
Tickets are $16-22.

For info and to purchase tickets, go to http://stolenshakespeareguild.org/ or call the box office at 1-866-811-4111.
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