Review: “Grease” is still the word: First Year Players deliver a heartwarming performance of classic
Review: First Year Players present the classic musical "Grease"
First Year Players’ production of the classic musical Grease was a heartwarming performance that showcased the efforts of 47 first-year students and even more upperclassmen helping behind the scenes. FYP is a student-run organization for non-theater majors to still get involved with theater on campus.
Grease was undeniably a nostalgic choice for this year’s performance. The story details the complications of life, love, and friendships of high schoolers at Rydell High in the 1950s. Originally a 1971 musical, it was popularized by the 1978 film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as the iconic lead couple.
FYP’s show starred Communications and Rhetorical Studies freshman Olivia Adams as the polite and proper Sandy and freshman Darren Zhang as Danny, the leather-clad bad boy Sandy falls for. The two performers opened the show with a wonderfully nostalgic rendition of the bouncy “Summer Nights,” a number that reminds you why this show has been so loved over the years. The songs are indestructibly catchy and fun.
Adams has a fantastic voice that was showcased throughout the show, but she was not alone. Charlotte Goodman, playing Marty, gave a magnificent performance of “Freddy My Love” during the Pink Ladies sleepover. While this song was cut from the film, it’s a staple in the stage production.
The leading men of the show were also not to be overlooked. Ryan Myers projected energy and personality throughout his performance as Doody, especially during his swoon-worthy solo “Those Magic Changes”. He was accompanied by his fellow Burger Place boy Sonny, played by Skyler Jones. Jones was hilarious at every turn and a fantastic addition to the cast.
Reese Agudelli, playing Rizzo, arguably stole the show with her sassy and confident performance as the leader of the Pink Ladies. With every line, Rizzo pushed back against the sexist and objectifying lines of dialogue in the show. She resists being defined by others, even if that makes her a little rough around the edges.
It was clear that the cast was having a great time while bringing the classic musical to life. The performers were all smiles and buzzed with energy as they bounced from one hand jive to the next.
The costumes were nostalgic, with classic 50s pin curls, cat-eye glasses, and perfectly styled quiffs. Many of the garments nodded to iconic looks from the original film, with Rizzo in a tied-up red blouse and tight capris and Sandy rocking her quintessential black leather pants in the final scene. Costumes were simple and didn’t distract from the production, allowing character choices and personalities to shine through.
As the club’s upperclassmen cheered from the back of Goldstein Auditorium, you couldn’t help but want to join in and celebrate during every scene change. Even the Chancellor and his wife were in attendance at the Friday night performance to support the cast and crew members.
The performers were accompanied by a pit orchestra which also featured the talents of first-year students. Their instrumental renditions of classic numbers from the show during scene changes insured you left the performance with the tunes of Grease filling your head.
First Year Players will have one more performance of Grease on April 9 in Goldstein Auditorium. Purchase tickets here.