LIVE: “Grease!” @ The Mac-Haydn Theatre, Chatham [GailSez]

I am soooo happy that the Mac-Haydn has had the guts to do “dirty” Grease! I thought for sure this theatre, known for offering family-friendly fare, would go with the Lysol-sanitized squeaky-clean version that The Theater Barn did in 2008, which frankly makes me want to hurl. Not because I am a huge fan of the non-stop raunchiness of Grease! as it was originally performed on Broadway in 1972, but because I think you should either do a show as written or not do it at all. Grease! is a dirty show and if you want to do a clean show you shouldn’t do Grease!

Of course, what I call “dirty” Grease! is apparently considerably cleaner than its original incarnation in Chicago, which was revived this past spring. Since I found the endless dry-humping of the Broadway version exhausting when I first saw it as a hormonally charged teenager, I have a feeling I would not like Chicago Grease! although I would be fascinated to hear the songs penned by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs which were cut.

Whatever I may think of the show on stage, I adore the score and was also very happy that this Mac-Haydn production presented all of it* except the original Act II finale, All Choked Up, which was replaced by the film score closer You’re the One That I Want. It also included Sandy, Baby as an opener, which I hadn’t seen done before, and Hopelessly Devoted to You. I am NOT a big fan of these later additions from the film, but I confess that I do understand the sense of adding a solo ballad for Sandy and find that Hopelessly Devoted… at least has an authentic 1950’s sound to it.

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