Friday, July 17, 2009
I caught an understudy-heavy performance of the Grease national tour in Philadelphia and was surprised to find it much more enjoyable than the recent Broadway revival, where the actors seemed forbidden to connect to their crotches. I still mourn the fun, slightly raunchy slice of nostalgia that the show used to be before the phenomenon of the movie - the revised, oppressively "family friendly" book wastes time shoehorning in songs from the movie, and the further the 1950's recede the more the characters are typically played like types rather than like people - but at least the guys I saw in the tour (Mark Raumaker as Kenickie, and David Ruffin as Danny) generated some genuine oool. Other cast stand-outs were Bridie Carroll and Will Blum (as Jan and Roger respectively) and Brian Crum who, as Doody, sings flawlessly and dances like it's opening night. Sorry to say that Taylor Hicks, doing not only his one number as Teen Angel but also, after curtain call, something from his new CD (on sale in the lobby, of course) looked bored out of his wits.