Last night, I saw Grease at the Waterman Theatre and was fairly impressed. The production was definitely pretty to look at, as it was very colorful and visually appealing (with the smoke on the stage and what not). The actors/actresses were very talented, but I do have my slight issues with it. The actor who played Danny and the actress who played Sandy didn’t really fit into their roles, and I didn’t think there was any chemistry between them. The actress who played Rizzo was utterly flawless, though; she couldn’t have done a better job, and I thought that she nailed Stockard Channing’s portrayal right on the head. I have only ever seen the film; this was my first time seeing a stage production.
Because I had only ever seen the film before last night, I wasn’t aware that the musical lineup was different on Broadway than it is in the film, so some songs were in slightly different order and were even omitted, songs that I would argue (again, based on my sole experience with the film) are crucial to the story, such as “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “You’re the One That I Want.” The play is also missing “Sandy” and instead has the song “Alone at the Drive-In” during that scene. Also, there are two different versions of “We Go Together” in the stage production, one right before the end of Act 1 and then a reprise at the very end. My favorite musical number was probably “Those Magic Changes,” and the actor who sang that song did so beautifully, and I also really liked “Freddy, My Love.” Another crucial difference between the stage production and the film is that in the stage production, Sandy doesn’t go to the dance and sings “It’s Raining on Prom Night” in her bedroom, while in the film, she attends the dance.
It’s definitely a much different experience than the film, that’s for sure, and while I couldn’t have been happier with some of the cast members, there were others that I was not so happy with. I also feel that with the way some of the songs are ordered and with the lacking of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “You’re the One That I Want,” the stage production is a lot choppier than the film and doesn’t flow as well. Lastly, I couldn’t help but look at the story through a different lens this time, since it has been quite a few years since I have seen the film, and looking at it from a feminist perspective, I couldn’t help but feel really disappointed. Throughout the story, Sandy and Danny just don’t click regardless of how many times they try. He keeps abandoning Sandy for other girls, and when they do make attempts to sustain a relationship (the drive-in scene is what I am referring to in particular), he tries to take advantage of her. Only when she submits to his will and conforms to his style do they finally work, so not only does it do away with the “be yourself” idea, it provides an example of a relationship that only works after the female realizes that if she wants to be with the male, she is going to have to conform, which echoes quite a few Disney films. I had a great night, though, and it was fun to watch.