Grease Photo by Joan Marcus
NEW REVIEW GREASE Born of NBC's reality-TV casting competition Grease: You're the One That I Want,
this latest take on Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's Broadway-hit
malt-shop musical features perfunctory performances by Eric Schneider
and Emily Padgett as the star-crossed summer lovers, Danny and Sandy.
This may explain why headliner status went to American Idol winner
Taylor Hicks, despite his mere cameo appearance. He's the Teen Angel
("teen"? wait, what?) who advises beauty school dropout Frenchy (Kate
Morgan Chadwick) to go back to high school. Hicks' turn is actually the
most effective part of the show, with him crooning to her swooning, as
he descends from above amid wafting curls of smoke -- but that's not
saying much. Director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall's staging
generally involves the cast just walking around or, worse, sitting or
standing in one place as they belt out their numbers. Can we get these
kids some roller skates or something? The actors' voices are uniformly
strong, though Schneider's is unremarkable, and Padgett often tackles
the Olivia Newton-John songs like they're arias. Paul Huntley's wig
stylings and Martin Pakledinaz's costume design provide delightfully
retro coifs on the ladies and snazzy duds on the dudes, but Derek
McLane's cartoon set looks like it was designed by a middle school
stagecraft club. And what's with censoring the explicit lyrics? Greased
Lightnin' is no longer the car that gets you pussy, it's a "dragon
wagon." What the hell does that even mean? Make no mistake, I love
Grease, with its timeless plot of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl,
girl-sluts-it-up-to-get-boy-back, but this is not the one you want. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 8
p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru March 22. (213)
365-3500. (Derek Thomas)
The latest NEW REVIEWS are all embedded within this coming week's COMPREHENSIVE THEATER LISTINGS. For a complete list of the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards recipients, press the "Continue Reading . . ." tab directly below.
The award recipients for the 2008 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards are as follows:
Anything, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
Gem of the Ocean, Fountain Theatre
Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre
McCulloh Award for Revival
(For Shows between 1920 and 1980)
Of Mice and Men, Theatre Banshee
Jeremy Aldridge, Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre
Ben Bradley, Gem of the Ocean, Fountain Theatre
David Fofi, Anything, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
Athol Fugard, Victory, the Fountain Theatre
Sean T. Cawelti with Miles Taber and the Rogues, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch, Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater
Dennis Kaye, Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre
Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5: The Musical, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
Lee Martino, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Havok Theatre Company at Bootleg Theatre
Michael Friedman, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
Dolly Parton, 9 to 5: The Musical, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
Sean Branney, Of Mice and Men, Theatre Banshee
Jake Broder, Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre
Ellen Geer, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Theatricum Botanicum
John Glover, Secrets of the Trade, the Black Dahlia Theatre
Louis Jacobs, Anything, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
Judy Kaye, Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
JD Cullum, Don Juan, A Noise Within
Beth Kennedy, As U2 Like It, Troubadour Theater Company at the Falcon Theatre
Sharon Lawrence, Orson's Shadow, Pasadena Playhouse
Adolphus Ward, Gem of the Ocean, Fountain Theatre
Assassins, West Coast Ensemble at The El Centro Theatre
Laura Fine Hawkes, Snake in the Grass, Salem K Theatre Company at The Matrix Theatre
Steven Young, Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, Havok Theatre Company at the Hudson Backstage Theatre
Shigeru Yaji, An Italian Straw Hat: A Vaudeville, South Coast Repertory
Ken Rich, The Common Air, SoulArt and Elephant C.A.F.E at Theatre Asylum
Nilaja Sun, No Child..., Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
Brian White, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch, Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater
Puppet and Mask Design
Joyce Hutter and Patrick Rubio, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch, Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater
Ned Mochel, On An Average Day, VS. Theatre Company at the Elephant Theatre Lab
The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play was awarded to EM Lewis for Song of Extinction. The award was accompanied by an offer to publish and a $1000 check funded by Samuel French, Inc.
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The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theater was awarded to Sacred Fools Theater Company. The award was accompanied by a $500 check, funded by the Nederlander Organization.
The Angstrom Award for career achievement in lighting design was awarded to Lisa D. Katz. The award was accompanied by a $1000 check, funded by Angstrom Lighting.
The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theater was awarded to the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company. The award was accompanied by a $500 check from Camelot Artists.
The Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre will be awarded to Nick DeGruccio. The award was accompanied by a $500 check from David Elzer/DEMAND PR.