THE popular rock ‘n’ roll musical Grease opened last night at Harare’s Reps Theatre, marking the revival of one of the most successful shows staged in the city, as well as internationally.
The show brings the music of the 1950s and 60s to a new generation and provided a trip down memory lane for older audiences. It is a musical that needs little introduction, having been a firm favourite since it was first launched as a stage production in the early 1970s and then went on to become a massive box office hit as a movie in 1978. It is set in an American high school in 1960 and features a selection of songs that became chart successes and a fun storyline that all audiences, but particularly teenagers, can relate to and enjoy.
Now, 30 years after that movie was released, director Teri Grimmel has recreated the show, which was previously staged at Reps during the 1990s. Starring Richard Sticklen as Danny and Desiree Mostert as Sandy, the large cast also includes award-winning actresses Erin Cooper and Fiona Garrity, newcomer Fadzisai Gukuta and well-known male stars of the local stage such as Josh Ansley, Alex Fairlie, Rowland Amm and Innocent Museve.
The show will run until Saturday September 20, with performances at 7pm each night from Tuesday to Saturday and one matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday September 13. Two performances have already been booked for fundraising gala nights —— Friday September 12 for Island Hospice, the Cancer Centre and the National Blood Service, and Friday September 19 for Peterhouse. Tuesdays and Wednesday have been designated half-price nights for all patrons.
“It has been really exciting getting this production under way,” said Grimmel, who was Reps’ best director for 2007 for her successful staging of Fiddler On The Roof.
“We have a strong cast made up of many experienced performers as well as a number of talented and promising newcomers, in addition to a band led by the very capable Len Strydom and dancing choreographed by Ryan Lawrence, who recently acted in the Theatre Upstairs production That’s Absurd!
“It is fun, lively and full of colour, song and dance — just the sort of thing to make audiences forget their troubles and get up into the aisles to dance during the encores.”
Grease focuses primarily on a relationship between high school tough Danny and ‘goody-two-shoes’ Sandy, but also between the supporting characters such as Rizo and Kenickie, many of whom are either Burger Palace Boys or Pink Ladies. While the music was written in the 70s it features the style and rhythms of the late 50s and early 60s and songs from the score are now household favourites across the world.
Booking for Grease is available at The Spotlight (open Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 4pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 12 noon). Special discounts are available throughout the run for children, pensioners, HIFAmigos, Reps members and members of Celebrity Subscription Concerts.