‘Greased lightning’ strikes Cayman

Forty years after the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies first gyrated onto the big screen, summer lovin’ is back at Prospect Playhouse.

And don’t let the Caribbean heat deter you: the Cayman Drama Society’s rendition of the classic musical, “Grease,” comes with just as many leather jackets and just as much hair product as the original, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

With a 36-member cast, comprised mostly of high school students, the reboot, directed by Matthew James Pellow, promises a lively slice of 1950s Americana.

Sandy Dumbrowski) (Mikayla Corin and Danny Zuko (Joe Roberts) remind the audience of the timeless struggles of adolescence, from peer pressure to self-doubt to questionable fashion choices.

“That’s that time period when we’re in high school, trying to figure out who we really are, what our voices are, who we want to be, and we really start shedding those layers of who we want to be and who we project ourselves to be,” Pellow says.

He describes “grease” as more than a word: “it is the oily or fatty matter that sticks to our public personas. When we’re young, we find ourselves projecting what we think we want or desire.”

These projections, of course, prove fragile, as Danny’s hair product-driven ego clashes with Sandy’s clean-cut naivety. It’s the ageless story of wide-eyed, over-the-top young love.

Danny Zuko (Joe Roberts) pines over good girl Sandy at the drive-in. – Photo: Kayla Young

“He was sort of special,” Sandy tells her new friends at Rydell High.

An already jaded Betty Rizzo (Bex Robinson) shoots back: “There ain’t no such thing.”

With the court of public opinion already decided, extending this summer romance won’t be easy.

Highlights of the show

In this coming-of-age tale, the female cast members, especially, shine on stage, stealing the show with their goofy yet believable dynamic as the Pink Ladies, and applause-worthy performances of “Freddy My Love” (sung by Aliyah Reid) and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (sung by Mikayla Corin).

A dumbfounded Frenchy (Laura Cooper) introduces one of the most-memorable skits of the evening, as Teen Angel (Dominic Wheaton) both serenades and dissuades her with “Beauty School Dropout.”

The T-birds jive and talk girls on the bleachers at Rydell High.

“Turn in your teasin’ comb and go back to high school,” he advises a clueless and confused Frenchy.

The Greasers crew, led by Zuko and Kenickie (Shane Delaney), brings its attitude and style to the stage as well, with its members riffing off each other’s crass and at times raunchy jokes in typical high school style. Whether from the bleachers of Rydell or at the garage, these guys maintain a cool, tough exterior – even through the hand jives and dance numbers, choreographed by Centre Pointe Dance Studio.

Audience members will want to keep an eye out for a major surprise – and feat for indoor theater. We won’t spoil the surprise here, so you’ll have to catch it in person!

The cast perhaps comes together best during the finale, as a letterman-clad Danny and a leather-clad Sandy realize, “you’re the one that I want.”

The final scene reveals the complexity of coordinating such a large cast, as countless dancers join the stage for a touch of grandiosity. The blast of song, dance and color ends the show on a high note.

Danny Zuko (Joe Roberts) struggles to reconcile his tough-guy image with his interest in Sandy Dumbrowski (Mikayla Corin).

“Everybody should come out to see ‘Grease.’ I think because it’s a timeless piece,” Pellow says.

Other CDS opportunities

Those who miss out on viewing this production will have several opportunities to enjoy theater in the near future.

Cayman Drama Society will put on a free Shakespeare Festival at Dart Park on June 16 from noon to 4 p.m. The next on-stage production will be “The Diary of Anne Frank” in September.

‘Grease’ will be running at the Prospect Playhouse until June 23. For more information on tickets and show times, visit www.cds.ky. Theater manager Paul de Freitas has also made an appeal for volunteers to help manage operations at the playhouse. For more information on the theater’s needs, contact [email protected]

The students and staff of Rydell High were ‘born to hand jive.’