'Grease' at Cocoa Village Playhouse rocks us back to the '50s
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The time: 1959. The place: Rydell High. The people: bad boy/good girl combo Danny and Sandy.
“Grease,” the enduring 1971 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is back in town at Cocoa Village Playhouse, where the show opens Friday, Sept. 23, for a run through Oct. 9.
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As you would expect from a show set in a fictional high school named after rock singer Bobby Rydell, “Grease” incorporates plenty of vintage rock ‘n roll vibes, from Buddy Holly to Little Richard.” The story of 10 teens meandering through the emotional land mines of adolescence includes touchy subjects such as sexual exploration, teen pregnancy, gang violence, peer pressure and even class conflict, but never loses sight that it is, after all, a musical happy to entertain.
Jacobs and Casey fought the urge to go with the crowd and transform alpha Danny into a sensitive guy, instead forging a new path that adds a cupful of salt, and more, to Sandy’s original sweetness, changing her into a bad boy’s dream girl.
In casting the show, Cocoa Village Playhouse “Drama Mama” Dr. Anastacia Hawkins-Smith opted for doubling casting the lead roles.
“They rotate though the performances, bringing double the talent to the stage,” she said. “As both groups are equally as talented, you might want to see it twice!”
Playing quintessential greaser Danny Zuko are Elijah Hillman and Cooper LaMontagne, paired against Ava Boyd’s and Cassidy Cooper’s portrayal of lovestruck Sandy Dumbrowski.
Playhouse cast take on 'Grease' at Cocoa Village
The Playhouse cast also features Jewell Poirier and Macy Urso as Pink Lady Rizzo, and Shane Withrow as cool dude Kenickie, Rizzo’s male counterpart.
Savanna Lee and Emily Vincent portray beauty school dropout Frenchy; Sherri Trimble and Carlie Frisbee play Jan and Bria Cottrell and Karly Dribble complete the Pink Ladies’ roster as Marty.
Cheerleader Patty is portrayed by Jane Sweeney and Cammryn Reagan, while Ella Ciuro is standout sassy dancer Cha-Cha.
Anderson Law, Tony Sciorino, Robert Holman Addison Ochipa, Conner Deroche, Adison Estrada and Brody Hemingway round out the energetic cast as Roger, Sonny, Doody and Eugene.
“I am so proud of these young performers,” said Hawkins-Smith. “Not only are they every bit the caliber of “Broadway on Brevard,” but they are very supportive of one another onstage and offstage.”
A live orchestra packs the musical punch needed for the hip-shaking music directed by Diane Spahr and the choreography by Pamela Larson, who also co-directed the show. Thanks to the talent of scenic designer Daniel Allen, lighting designer Ian Cook, costume designer Daniel Hill and assistant costume designer Michael O’Quinn, audiences are transported to Rydell High on the tail end of the 1950s.
As Rizzo put it, “we’re going to rule the school.” “Grease” totally rules Cocoa Village Playhouse, at least until Oct. 9.
If you go
Where: Cocoa Village Playhouse, 300 Brevard Ave., Cocoa
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, plus a 7:30 p.m. show on Thursday, Sept. 29.
Tickets: Start at $23
On the web: cocoavillageplayhouse.com
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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Cocoa Village Playhouse presents 'Grease'