nytix was at the very first performance of the new Broadway revival of Grease, and fans of Max Crumm and Laura Osnes, the winners of NBC’s reality TV show Grease – You’re the One That I Want, will be happy to know that the young Broadway debutantes acquitted themselves nicely. With a naturally sweet demeanor and a lovely voice, Laura makes an ideal Sandy. Max still strikes one as ever-so-slightly miscast as leather-clad leader-of-the-pack Danny, but the kid is so confident and talented that he’s a joy to watch perform.
As it opens with the guys and gals of Rydell High School crooning the seductively hip “Grease is the Word,” this Kathleen Marshall-directed production of the perennial American favorite looks like it might finally put the “cool” back in Grease. But it doesn’t take long before the show’s inherent bubble gumminess starts to ooze out, and the fact that the storyline isn’t always coherent doesn’t help. However, in addition to Max and Laura, Marshall has assembled a strong cast that — even in their first performance — were full of energy and assurance and had no problem whatsoever revving up the audience. When these kids break into classics like “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” and “We Go Together,” you can’t help but get caught up in the fun.
To hear the audience, which undoubtedly was full of fans of the TV show, you would have thought it was a Beatles concert. The hooting, wild applause, and at times even screams (yes, screams!) made the show more than just another performance of a Broadway musical — this show is an event. The official opening of Grease is not until August 19, so what kinks the production has will likely be ironed out. The fact remains that the show itself is far from the strongest in the musical theatre canon, but this production still makes it a silly good time.