Last night, my wife and I went to see the opening of Grease at the Fisher Theater. Our chef, whose brother is in the cast, offered us the tickets, or we probably never would have thought about going. Not just because they were free but, Grease? Me? I know it’s sort of my era and all, but my mind could only picture John Travolta and Olivia Neutron Bomb. That shit was centuries ago.
To my great surprise, it was a very enjoyable evening. Our seats were on the aisle in the balcony about six rows back which, to my way of thinking, are the best in the house. One can see all of the stage and is still close enough to recognize faces.
The music was lively, the choreography stunning, and the stage sets were really clever and visually fun to look at. The vocals were spot on key.
Our chef’s brother was Vince Fontaine (the DJ), and the evening opens with him coming out solo to warm up the audience. He had people singing and dancing in the aisles in no time. After fifteen or twenty minutes of this, it was time for the curtain to rise, and everyone was so eager. I couldn’t get over the number of very young girls in the audience – I mean teens and pre-teens. (Literally, a large Girl Scout troop surrounded our seats.)
Prior to 7:30 pm last night, I had no idea who Taylor Hicks is (tsk, tsk, I’m out of touch) but he starred in the role as Teen Angel. It was then that it dawned on me why so many little girls were out late on a school night. Hicks did two numbers during the show then, at the end after the cast left the stage, he performed his new Seven Mile Breakdown. Okay, at first I’m thinking he’s just some flash in the pan. American Idol? WTF is that? But seriously, I am a long-time R&B fan, and the guy has the right stuff.
On a side note, I was a bit concerned about some of the subject matter, the language, smoking, drinking, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, peer pressure to fit in, etc., especially in light of all of these young kids in the audience. But then I thought, compared to what they probably see on TV and in the movies, this is Walt Disney material. My wife said something about it on the way to the car, to which I replied “I’m sure they see far worse everyday,” and she agreed.
So if Grease comes to your town (it will be in Detroit for three weeks, then around the country) I recommend that you take it in. It’s an energetic, entertaining three hours, and the cast keeps the audience engaged throughout by encouraging them to clap and sing along. I dare you to try not to oblige. If I got sucked in, you don’t stand a chance of remaining remote.