From poodle skirts and slicked back hair, to fast cars and a faster life style, Grease isn't just the word. Grease is the show that'll have audiences dancing in the aisles and singing in their cars for days when it kicks off the second blockbuster Broadway musical series, tonight, Sept. 12 - Oct. 7, 2012 at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.
The ultimate celebration of the teen years, Grease, book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and WarRen Casey, strikes a universal chord with its hand-jivin' mix of schoolhouse rock, adolescent angst and vibrant physicality. Set in the hip 1950s on Chicago's Northwest side, the whole gang has reported to class: Danny, Sandy, Frenchy, Rizzo, Kenickie and the rest of the student body at Rydell High. Nominated for 11 Tony Awards, and without question the world's most famous movie musical, Grease boasts hit after hit: "Summer Nights," "Beauty School Drop Out," "Hand Jive," "You're the One that I Want," and of course "Greased Lightnin'," along with those big, glorious, action-filled dance numbers.
Just wait until director Michael Unger, music director Michael Keefe and choreographer Dana Solimando combine forces with an A-list cast, a crack design team, and the Paramount Theatre Orchestra to do what Paramount does best: inject fresh, new ideas into beloved American musicals like Grease to create a sensational live theatrical experience like you've never seen before.
So be there or be square. Grease begins performances tonight, Sept. 12. Press opening is Friday, Sept. 14 at 8 pm. Performance times through Oct. 7 are Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Exceptions: No performances Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 3 and 4. Grease is rated PG.
Single tickets are $34.90-$46.90. Better yet, join the nearly 17,000 musical theater fans who have already discovered they can enjoy four awesome musicals for the price of just one show downtown by signing up for Paramount's Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free 2012-13 Broadway subscription series packages, starting at only $69.80. In addition to Grease, upcoming shows in the series include Annie (directed by Rachel Rockwell, Nov. 21-Dec. 30, 2012), The Music Man (directed by Rachel Rockwell, Jan. 16-Feb. 3, 2013) and Fiddler on the Roof (directed by Jim Corti, Mar. 6-24, 2013).
For subscriptions, single tickets and information, go to ParamountAurora.com, call the Paramount box office, (630) 896-6666, or visit the box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 2 hours prior to evening performances.
"We are thrilled to welcome Michael Unger back to his hometown of Chicago. Before he became a sensation as a theater and opera director in New York and regionally, Michael got his start right here in Chicago assistant directing two seminal productions at Steppenwolf Theatre, A Clockwork Orange with Terry Kinney and Buried Child with Gary Sinise," said Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti. "Today, Michael is a sought-after director for large-scale, highly visual projects. He has an active imagination, a knack for drawing out the best in actors and an incisive way of looking at shows - the way they are structured, and the characters themselves. Michael and his team will have a lot of fun exploring the psyches of these teenagers and the high school experience - how things have changed and how things haven't."
Contrary to the popular movie version of Grease, characters like Danny, Rizzo and Kenickie weren't originally written as the epitome of cool. Instead, authors Jacobs and Casey originally wrote a play called Grease Lightning with incidental music based on Jacobs' experience at William Taft High School, populated with teenage loners, misfits, burnouts and hangers-on, all just trying to find friends like themselves. Grease Lightning debuted in 1971 in the original Kingston Mines Theatre in Chicago. With input from New York producers the play was retooled into a full-fledged musical, Grease, which opened off Broadway in 1972, won seven Tony Awards, and moved to Broadway where it played a total of 3,388 performances before closing in April 1980. In addition to countless productions and tours since in the U.S. and internationally, the 1978 movie Grease starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John became an instant icon of sing-a-long pop culture, one many consider the greatest musical-turned-movie ever.