From the Press

'Grease' is the word at SLCT

By Karen Meister

If you remember the iconic 1972 Broadway production of “Grease,” the 1978 film version, the 2016 television rendition or even the music CD of this remarkable creation, then you would probably agree that it is a tough act to follow.

Well, the Spring Lake Community Theatre’s production comes very close to the original in so many ways.

This explosive, energetic, and exciting rendition takes the audience back to the late 1950s rock ‘n’ roll scene with its music, dance and style of the time. The music was loud and fast, the dances were sensational and the styles were unique. Poodle skirts, high top canvas sneakers and club jackets were the fad. Fast cars were the mode.

Along with these distinguishing features, there was an explosion of emotions and a lot of peer pressure. One week your boyfriend or girlfriend was your constant companion, however, the next week partners might change, even with your best friend dating the “love” of your life!

“Grease” is a collaboration of the book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, which resulted in a production about students at Rydell High School; in particular about two groups: the Burger Palace Boys [greasers, as this style was called] and the Pink Ladies [who dated the greasers].

The play features Sandy Dumbrowski [Claudia Noto] a new student at Rydell High and a tough guy, Danny Zuko [John Gnazzo], the leader of the Burger Palace Boys. The two had met at the beach the summer of senior year. They saw each other frequently and had a summer romance. When school began they did not expect to see each other. But as circumstances had it, they were both at Rydell. Danny was so concerned with his reputation and club members, he shied away from Sandy, which confused her quite a bit.

Sandy, eager to develop friendships in her new school, encounters the “groovy” Pink Ladies who are Rizzo [Allie Ambriano] Frenchy [Victoria Vazquez], Jan [Hannah Friedman] and Marty [Maggie Mihalcik].

The other group who welcomes Sandy is the wholesome cheering squad, which she joins. Bella Matuch, Erin O’Dea, Sarah Steenland and Lily Winchester make up this energetic group.

Sandy interacts with both groups and witnesses the beginning of teenage peer pressure. She feels comfortable with the cheerleaders but intrigued by the Pink Ladies who can bring her closer to Danny and the Burger Palace Boys, played by Brendan Considine, William Naess, Zachary James, Tim diDomenico and Benjamin Petruk.

These young, adept performers did a stellar job bringing back the 1950s with their talent and style. Each cast member brought out the vitality and authenticity of the era.

Veteran performers, such as Elizabeth Kielty as Ms. Lynch, a Rydell English teacher, Haley Smialek as Patty Simcox and Benjamin Petruk as Eugene Florcryk, a Rydell alumni. Adam Nelson portrays the disc jockey Vince Fontaine at the high school dance, while DaShaun Williams plays bandleader Johnny Casino, and Jeff Skalecki is the Teen Angel singer, and Caroline Miele is the exotic Cha Cha. This cast and ensemble are fantastic and deserve every accolade they receive.

The memorable songs sung by the cast are accompanied by a sensational orchestra, led by Andrew Ferrie.

“Summer Nights,” “Freddy My Love” and “Greased Lightnin” were among the abundant array of songs that make you want to get up and dance in the aisle.

The choreography, directed by Kelly Baglivio, is phenomenal. The female and male dance ensemble and cast are vivacious and electric, adding so much to the entire production.

All aspects of this performance are tied together by the able guidance of Producer Pat Barry and Director Amy Skalecki, and all those behind the scenes.

Notice that I have only introduced readers to the play’s first act. The rest is up to those looking for a very enjoyable summer event to bring you back to the 1950s.

Grease will be at the Spring Lake Theatre on July 15, 16, 22, 23. Curtain is 7:30 p.m.

July 16, 17 and 23, 24 will include a 2 p.m. matinee. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m Monday through Saturday at 732-449-4530 or visit the web