Arts & Culture

“Grease” comes to the UWF stage

Danny Zuko, Sandy Dumbrowski and the rest of their Rydell High friends are on their way to the University of West Florida stage this week.

“Grease,” one of the most famous and entertaining pop-culture musicals of our time, will be presented Thursday through Saturday, April 8 to 10, 15 to 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 11 and 18 at 2:30 p.m. The performance will be held at the Mainstage Theatre in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts, Building 82. Tickets cost $16 per person for adults, $12 per person for senior citizens and active military, $10 per person for non-UWF students and UWF faculty and staff and $5 for high school students. UWF students are admitted free with their Nautilus cards.

“‘Grease’ is a classic for a reason,” said Leah Arington, assistant professor of theater, who is directing the musical for the first time. “It is full of vibrant music and iconic characters.” The 1972 musical is set in 1959 Chicago and filled with catchy tunes familiar to both stage and movie fans. The popular 1978 film version starred Olivia Newton John and John Travolta.

The “Grease” on stage at the UWF will be different than the stage and film versions.

“This version is not only much different from the movie, but also from that of the original and revival versions of ‘Grease’ on Broadway,” she said. “The movie elaborated the plot a bit more than the musical does, but it is nonetheless an exciting vehicle for some fantastically catchy music,” she said.

The UWF version will take 2010 audience members back to 1959 with its greased hair, poodle skirts and sock hops where they can expect to hear classic songs such as “Summer Nights,” “Born to Hand Jive” and “We Go Together.”

However, some of the songs familiar to movie fans, such as the “Grease” title song, will not be heard because of copyrights related to the version of the musical available to rent.

“We were able to obtain the rights to do ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ and ‘You’re The One That I Want’ through the lawyers that represent these two songs,” she said.

The UWF production is directed and choreographed by Arington, with music direction by Daniel Driskell. They are joined on the artistic side by Charles Houghton, chair, Department of Theatre, as set and lighting designer and UWF student Corey Stano, as costume designer.

By Susie Forrester, University Marketing Communications