While summer days are slowly drifting away, the Summer Place Theatre invites T-Birds and Pink Ladies out to enjoy a musical summer night.
The show is "Grease." The songs are catchy, the cast is young and the dancing is impressive.
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If you goWhat: The Summer Place Theatre's production of "Grease"
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays, July 8-24
Where: Center Stage Theater, 1665 Quincy Ave., Suite 131, Naperville
Cost: $20 adults, $15 students and seniors, $12 children ages 5-12
Info: (630) 355-7969 or summerplacetheatre.com
Danny: Vince Soto
Sandy: Hannah Hudson
Kenickie: Chad Pedigo
Sonny: Ian Emerson
Doody: Vince McPherson
Roger: Anthony Sullivan
Eugene: Brian Warren
Rizzo: Amanda Walsh
Marty: Melissa McNeill
Jan: Sara Geist
Frenchy: Gabi Knoepfle
Patty: Allyssa O'Donnell
Teen Angel: Brett Baleskie
Cha-Cha: Shynell Owen
Miss Lynch: Laurie Edwards and Heather Hutchinson
Director: Matt Whalen
Stage manager: Jake Freund
Producer: Lynn Hodak
"It's loved, I think, for the same reason that 'High School Musical' is popular," Director Matt Whalen said.
And 40 years after the initial performance, "Grease" is still the word.
Summer Place Theatre's cast of 15 will take to the stage Friday, July 8, in Center Stage Theater, 1665 Quincy Ave. in Naperville, to give a performance that producer Lynn Hodak believes encompasses "what summer should be about."
The show, which Whalen says "has been described as high voltage entertainment," runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through July 24. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. with 3 p.m. matinees on Sunday.
With poodle skirts and drive-in movie dates, the Rydell High romance of Danny and Sandy is a musical classic. But Whalen is determined that the production will not simply be another rendition of a well-known classic.
"With a show as popular as this, the audience expects certain things, which I think they'll get," said Whalen, a past Summer Place Theatre board member. "But I wanted it to be something different too."
Before rehearsals began, Whalen immersed himself in reviews of the show's recent Broadway productions. He soon realized that most received criticism for characters who were "too squeaky clean" or were "cartoony and not convincing."
"I was trying to find a way to keep more of what I think that the authors originally intended it to be," Whalen said of "Grease."
The cast worked extensively to put their own stamp on each of the show's characters, ensuring a unique performance.
"Each one really brings something special to their role," Whalen said. "I think we worked hard at figuring out what makes each character special."
The cast, largely assembled of actors and actresses ranging from 16 years old to college aged, has been rehearsing together since mid-May.
"We truly have assembled some of the most energetic and best dancers in the area," Hodak said.
Outside of theatrical talent, the group has proved to both director and producer that they go together like "ramma lama ka dinga da dinga dong."
"This cast has blended so well together both personally and professionally and that really comes across onstage," Hodak said
Tickets, available online or at the box office, are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $12 for ages 5 to 12.
Even for those who grew up watching the film version of the musical or have seen the show live before, Whalen maintains that the cast will put on a performance not to be missed.
"This is truly one of the Summer Place's gems of all the shows we've done in a long time," Hodak said.