As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Tuesday, December 12

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


A/C
« A Look Behind soarinbird studios Review: A Lesson Before Dying @ Lincoln Square Theatre »

Theater Wed May 11 2011

Review: The Original Grease @ ATC

Grease.jpg

L to R: Carol Rose, Tony Clarno, Jessica Diaz, Robert Colletti, Kelly Davis Wilson, Adrian Aguilar,
and Tyler Ravelson in The Original Grease at the American Theater Co.

In 1970, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey wrote a play about teenagers based on their own high school experience at Taft High School in Chicago. It ran at the Kingston Mines Theatre Company for what was supposed to be one weekend in January of 1971, turned into eight months, got enough notice to get produced on Broadway, and became the 1978 film Grease, starring a 24 year-old John Travolta and 30 year-old Olivia Newton-John as Hollywood's best-known teenage couple. When Grease moved to the silver screen, it became a different story; all of the Chicago references were removed, along with any cursing, and even entire songs, rendering what was once a celebration of working-class adolescence into cartoonish nostalgia.

In the intervening years, the play has been produced innumerable times, but this is the first time that the original script and score have been performed, which is reason enough to go see it. It took me a while to get the film cast out of my expectations (I couldn't help it, I've watched that movie so many times I can recite entire scenes from it. [And in an unnecessary side note - as a child I didn't understand what the lyrics "can't go to bed 'till I'm legally wed" meant, and was very concerned that Sandy wasn't getting enough sleep]). Once the play began, however, it was easy for those silver-screen ghosts to make way for the live action unfolding in the small but expertly used space at the American Theater Company.

Adrian Aguilar and Kelly Davis Wilson star as the improbable high school sweethearts Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbroski, with a strong supporting cast that includes Tony Clarno as Kenickie, and Jessica Diaz as Rizzo. For the most part the storyline was familiar, only with a lot more sexually explicit language, references to Chicago locales, and a few scenes that were added to acknowledge the fact that 1959 was over 60 years ago (the start of the show is a 60 year high school reunion).

The Original Grease brings the well-worn, glossy screen version back to its Chicago roots, and is an entertaining and satisfying production. Show runs Wednesdays through Sundays through June 26. Tickets can be purchased online, at the ATC box office (1909 W. Byron), or by calling 773-409-4125.

 
GB store
GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

Blogroll

ACRE
An Angry White Guy
Antena
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Collaboraction
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Defibrillator
Devening Projects
Digressions
DIY Film
ebersmoore
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
HollywoodChicago
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
InCUBATE
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
J-Pointe
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Marquee
Mess Hall
N'DIGO
Neoteric Art
NewcityArt
NewcityFilm
NewcityStage
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Onstage
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
Performink
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
SAIC Blog
The Seen
Sharkforum
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Steppenwolf.blog
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
threewalls
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Vocalo
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store

 

Events


A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.



About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop, nancy@gapersblock.com
A/C staff inbox: ac@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15