Grease Scores BIG on Football Field Show!
…………………………………………………………..……………………By Scott Myers
I was driving around the other night trying to stay cool in my air-conditioned car. Being curious, when I saw a crowd gathering at Bishop McGuiness’ High School football stadium, I pulled into the parking lot and noticed their field strewn with various large platforms with castors (wheels), colored stage lights and fifties/early sixties’ music coming from within. Turns out that Lyric Theatre was debuting their production of Grease, by Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey on the football field that evening.
I’ve seen shows presented on all types of venues but I was very curious to see how Lyric was going to pull this one off. Thank goodness the refs (I saw some of them on the field) didn’t need to call the show on account of bad weather. This reviewer’s note- if this production had been done in a traditional theatrical venue my observations might have been an entirely different call.
This spectacle of familiar songs, characters and the various human-interest stories (Sandy, played by Ms. Sydney Jones longing for her summer love with Danny, sung by Joe Caskey) kicks off with the usual plot setting songs. The young company fills the field with exuberance and hope for an exciting new school year back in 1959. For those unfamiliar with this story, we are introduced to the Pink Ladies with leader of the pack Rizzo (played with leadership by Gabby Rae Jimenez) and their male counterparts The Greasers (Danny is their leader but a very strong 2nd in command is played by Caleb Barnett (Kenickie).
Director Michael Baron has made great use of this enormous stage by employing large choruses and movable stage pieces to move this joyous romp down memory lane at a comfortable speed. A special football helmet’s tip of the face guard to Scenic Designer Kimberly Powers and sound designer Corby Ray for tackling this 100-yard super bowl and making it feel like an outdoor theater. Costume designer Jeffrey Meek did a wonderful job covering all of those bodies but I was disappointed that he went for the Olivia Newton John final costume instead of continuing his creative streak.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Lyric and their supporters for getting live theater back on its feet during this pandemic. All in all, I’m glad I wandered into this parking lot full of happy, mainly unmasked, people who enjoyed a nostalgic trip back to the 1950’s (honestly most of the filled stadium audience were too young to know this era)… but I do!
Grease runs from June 15 through June 27 and is showing at the Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School Pribil Football Stadium. Performance time is 8:00 pm for all shows. Bishop McGuiness High School is located at 801 NW 5th Street or 59th and Western. Follow the crowds, follow the lights and enjoy! For tickets and information simply call the box office at 405-524-9312.