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Paramount begins Broadway series with ‘Grease’

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 10:28 p.m. CST

It makes sense that the Paramount Theatre in Aurora would choose to stage the musical “Grease.” “Grease,” which will be at the Paramount through Oct. 7, has deep roots in the area.

Although “Grease” is most associated with the popular 1978 movie of the same name, the musical premiered in 1971 at the Kingston Mines Theatre in Chicago. The musical itself is set in the 1950s on Chicago’s Northwest side.

Any theater company willing to take on “Grease” should know the baggage the musical carries, namely that the movie became so popular, you almost can’t imagine anybody else playing the characters in the musical.

That said, Paramount’s version of “Grease” does an admirable job in conveying the musical’s fun spirit. The energy level seemed to be somewhat lacking during the first act of “Grease,” especially compared to the musicals the Paramount staged last season, including “Hair” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

But once the second act started, the excitement picked up considerably. Perhaps that had something to do with highly-choreographed numbers such “Born to Hand Jive” and “Beauty School Dropout,” which both provided a visual lift to the evening.

Although, the musical centers around the relationship between Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski, those characters are upstaged by the brassy Betty Rizzo, played superbly by Jessica Kingsdale. Her delivery of “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” is one of the musical’s treats.

As with all the musicals the Paramount has done to date, the staging is outstanding. The sight of an actual 1950s era car on stage alone is worth the price of admission.

So, if you’re looking for a night of great music and choreography, “Grease” is most definitely the word. Tickets to “Grease” range in price from $34.90 to $46.90, and the show is rated PG. More information is at www.paramountaurora.com.

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