I was easing into the weekend late Friday afternoon, wholeheartedly looking forward to a much-needed date night, when I got an alarming text:
“Bad news, sweetie…”
My heart raced for a minute as I worried about the possibilities. Then I got this:
“I’ve got chillllls…they’re multiplying….”
My response: “D$#%*@, Benjamin!”
A visit to Rydell High School was just the lighthearted date night escape we needed after a busy week of work, kids, and surviving Indiana’s notorious February weather. “Grease” is on stage at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre through March 31. The audience was packed and it was easy to see why! Get tickets fast if you want to see this show (and I think you do if you’re taking the time to read this!)
Here are three things I loved about this production:
This is a young, vibrant cast where every actor is GOING FOR IT. The pace is fast, the actors fire out comedic dialogue with precise timing, and everyone is 100% in character every moment they are on stage – plenty for Director Eddie Curry to be proud of!
Special kudos to Kaleb Lankford (as Danny) for masterfully conveying the split-second switch between sweet, doting boyfriend and dismissive, too-cool-for-school greaser when friends interrupt his first on-stage conversation with Sandy. So charming and funny! Sarah Daniels (Sandy) has the sweet innocence and pure voice that make her perfect for the role, along with enough power to shock the grease out of the T-Birds’ hair when she finds her edgier side in the finale. Among the strong cast members are Logan Moore as Sonny, Casi Riegle as Rizzo and Jenny Reber as Frenchie. Their strong character choices never wavered and their energy lit up the stage. Watching this company in action made me want to shed 20+ years and get up on stage to dance with the Pink Ladies and T-Birds at Rydell High.
MAGICAL MOMENTS: Ms. Lynch, Teen Angel and Mooning
Every great show tends to have a show-stopping moment, and this one was unforgettable. At the end of the school dance scene, the incomparable comedic goddess/diva Karen Pappas as Miss Lynch works herself into such a frenzy that she ends the number by somersaulting across the stage. It’s an unexpected moment played with perfection: FULL-OUT, and hilarious.
When Joshua L.K. Patterson stepped into the spotlight as Frenchie’s guardian angel, his glittering, rainbow-colored hair and smooth “crooner” vocals brought an instant smile to my face. “Beauty School Dropout” was one of my favorite numbers. I want a guardian angel just like him!
Andy Kear as Roger and Adee David as Jan create a sweet and hilarious duo. There was no way for me not to laugh out loud at their over-the-top choreography as they celebrated the beauty of “full moons.” If you’re able to stop giggling long enough, take a careful listen to Kear’s voice. Wow! It may be a silly song, but it lets him show off some powerful vocal chops. Nicely done.
EYE AND EAR CANDY
The costumes in this show look incredible in my admittedly biased opinion – beautiful detail work as always, designer Jill Kelly Howe! The picture-perfect wardrobe made me a bit envious as I looked back at my community theatre days playing Sandy about 15 years ago – our cast had so much fun, but I would have loved to have Jill’s magical styling touch!
The choreography by Ron Morgan was also a treat for the eyes, FUN and fast-paced! It was perfect for this show, and the cast is full of skilled dancers who appear to be true triple threats.
The music, under the direction of Terry Woods, was also “electrifying,” from Danny’s impressive falsetto, to Sandy’s sweet torch songs, to Rizzo’s heart-wrenching moment in the spotlight (“There Are Worse Things I Could Do.”) Another vocal highlight that did not disappoint was the Danny and Sandy’s first big harmony moment, which they hit right on the nose: “Those su-um-mer naaaa- ights!”
Congrats to a fabulous cast on a great production. I can tell you “go together like ramalamalama ka dingity ding de dong” and all that other stuff!
“Grease” runs through March 31 at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Tickets range from $45 to $70 and include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet. For more information or show schedule, visit beefandboards.com.