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Seize the Power of ‘Grease’

Dos Santos and Lorenzana play Sandy and Danny in the re-run of 'Grease'. Photograph by Erickson Dela Cruz.

Dos Santos and Lorenzana play Sandy and Danny in the re-run of ‘Grease’. Photograph by Erickson Dela Cruz.

Known to be and is still considered as Broadway’s 15th longest-running show—‘Grease’ is on its re-run and is a production of 9 Works Theatrical with new cast members joining the old-timers as it recently opened on November 15 and will close on December 7 at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium at RCBC Plaza in Makati City.

Robbie Guevara, 9 Works’ artistic director and at the same time the director of the said show was able to assemble a powerhouse mixed of talented young actors for its re-run.

Since the two GMA-7 Kapuso’s Gian Magdangal and Francesca Farr along with some of the members of the original cast have been replaced—the new leads—Guji Lorenzana and Tippy Dos Santos (both Star Magic artists) assumed the role of Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski, respectively.

There are some interesting points that need to be mentioned and highlighted in this production’s re-run.

It’s always fun to relive the Music of ‘Grease’.

This said production is based on the 1978 American musical romantic comedy film, which was directed by Randal Kleiser and was produced by Paramount Pictures. It is from Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs’ 1971 musical of the same title and talks about two lovers in a 1950s high school. It featured John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John on the lead roles.

The songs that can easily be identified by those who have fallen in love with the film and the stage version are the classic songs such as ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’, ‘Sandy’, ‘Grease is the Word’, ‘You’re the One that I Want’, ‘Summer Nights’, ‘Greased Lightnin’, and more. These songs are enough reasons for theater addicts should watch and enjoy at the same time.

Taus and Siguion-Reyna are Betty and Kenickie. Photograph by Erickson Dela Cruz.

Taus and Siguion-Reyna are Betty and Kenickie. Photograph by Erickson Dela Cruz.

If not for the iconic songs, this musical won’t be forever a hit and it transcends from one generation to the other. Apart from that, it has served as an inspiration for musical productions of ‘High School Musical’ and ‘Camp Rock’.

Rafa Siguion-Reyna and Antoinette Taus stood out.

When the said musical opened late last year in November till first day of December, even back then, the leads were outshone by the supports—Rafa Siguion-Reyna as Kenickie and Iya Villania as Betty Rizzo.

This time around, Rafa returned onstage with more ‘gusto’, has more intensity. He moves around the stage with precision in his dance routines and if only he has the voice of a tenor, then he could easily qualify to be elevated as the ‘new’ Danny. However, he has a baritone voice that suited him as the tough and rude, though considerate, second-in-command leader of T-Birds. Guji Lorenzana has a tenor voice, but there were quite a number of awkward moments when he appeared onstage during the musical’s press preview on November 14.

Antoinette Taus after being absent in the limelight for years since she stayed in the US, the choice to assume the role of a spiteful and sarcastic female leader of Pink Girls—Betty Rizzo was one good decision for her to reclaim her previous glory. Though Tippy may fit the bill as Sandy Dumbrowski; Taus is still the likely character that earned the most ‘buzz’. She may have appeared in several plays back then, but being the ‘mean’ Betty; she has given justice to the said challenging role.

The rest of the cast members performing one of the all-time favorite song numbers--'We Go Together'. Photograph by Erickson Dela Cruz.

The rest of the cast members performing one of the all-time favorite song numbers–‘We Go Together’. Photograph by Erickson Dela Cruz.

The rest of the cast members who made great impressions were—Alex Godinez as the fashion-conscious beauty—Marty; Peachy Atilano and Sarah Facuri are the good-natured, beauty school dropout Frenchy and the compulsive-eating Jan; Sab Jose as the enthusiastic cheerleader Patty Simcox; and Reb Atadero as the mischievous Roger.

Some Changes in the Productions were Made Palatable.

For those who have seen the run last year, there are changes in the production side.

Without spoiling it, 9 Works Theatrical made the re-run more attractive and palatable to the audience particularly the young audiences of today. The ‘We Go Together’ part was rather more interactive that made the audience stand and join in with the cast in dancing as opposed to the previous cast. Perhaps, the younger set of cast members helped the part to be more engaging to the audience to sing-and-dance along with.

The costumes in the ‘Greased Lightnin’ were more visually appealing especially when the lights went off as it illumined in the dark.

Although the overarching jukebox design was already part of its set design in its previous run, it still provided a different imagery for the audiences.

As a whole, ‘Grease’ is a musical that no one in his or her lifetime should miss. It is fun and entertaining at the same time. Each musical number is electrifying while the giddy moments between Danny and Sandy, Roger and Jan were relatable. Everything in this play has the power to infect each member of the audience to appreciate the kind of life projected in the play as well as its songs and music that are already well-loved classics.

For tickets and other inquiries, please call (632) 5867105 or +639175545560, or send an email to info@9workstheatrical.com. Also like the company’s facebook page as well as its twitter; Instagram accounts.

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