'Grease' is the Word for Cap and Bells
Tony-nominated musical opens drama society's 82nd season
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Students at Saint Joseph's University will trade in hip-hop and sneakers for the Stroll and saddle shoes this November as Cap and Bells Dramatic Arts Society presents Grease. The show opens Thursday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. in Bluett Theatre, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 15.
The musical, set in 1959, follows 14 high school students through their pursuits of love, cars and leisure. The most prominent storyline showcases the relationship between Danny Zuko, a working-class "greaser," and Sandy Dumbrowski, a wholesome new girl in school whom Danny met over the summer. The score, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, attempts to re-create the sounds of early rock 'n roll.
Renee Dobson, M.F.A., associate professor of fine and performing arts and Cap and Bells' co-artistic director, said that the musical, which opened on Broadway in 1972 and inspired the 1978 film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, offers the performers an opportunity to learn about life in the show's 1950s setting.
"This generation knows so little about the culture of the 50s," Dobson said. "The students assumed all the dancing would be versions of the Twist, but that's really more from the 1960s." Norb Joerder, a choreographer from New York City, joined the production staff to teach the performers the dance styles of the time.
The 1950s culture will also be reflected by the American Bandstand-style set, the inclusion of a rock band on stage and the use of a real 1950s car for the greasers to work on. The show will also benefit from the guest performance of Tim Williams '04, a professional recording artist, who will play the role of Johnny Casino, a rock star who plays "Born to Hand Jive" at the school dance.
Dobson said that the show gives the students a chance to widen their acting range. "The last several shows that we have performed have been relatively dark," Dobson said. "This show is a lighthearted audience pleaser, and for students pursuing careers in musical theatre, it's important to know how to perform this kind of show."
Performances run Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 5-7, and Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14 at 8 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. General admission is $16; students, employees and seniors pay $8. Bluett Theatre is located in Post Hall at 56th St. & Overbrook Avenue. For tickets, call 610-660-1181 or visit www.sju.edu/capandbells.