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'Grease' to rock Summer Theatre of New Canaan stage

Published 9:49 am, Sunday, July 21, 2013

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  • Danny Zuko, played by Christian Libonati, and Sandy Dumbrowski, played by Sharon Malane, star in the rollicking musical "Grease," which opens on Saturday, July 20, in a preview at the Summer Theatre of New Canaan's open-air tent at Waveny Park. Photo: Contributed
    Danny Zuko, played by Christian Libonati, and Sandy Dumbrowski, played by Sharon Malane, star in the rollicking musical "Grease," which opens on Saturday, July 20, in a preview at the Summer Theatre of New Canaan's open-air tent at Waveny Park. Photo: Contributed

 

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"Grease," the 1950s rock 'n' roll musical, presented by the Summer Theatre of New Canaan, will begin performances at Waveny Park on Saturday, July 20.

The show is particularly nostalgic for artistic director Melody Libonati, who is directing the musical, as she played the role of Sandy Dumbrowski in the original Broadway production opposite various Danny Zukos, including Patrick Swayze, Treat Williams, Adrian Zmed, Peter Gallagher and Rex Smith.

" `Grease,' as produced in the original production, and how we will be presenting the show, will be true to our iconic '50s culture and teen adolescence," Libonati said. "It is an exciting, fun show for both the audience and performers."

A special "Grease Reunion" will be hosted by the STONC at the Saturday, July 27, performance, with actors from the original Broadway and national touring productions attending.

Set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School, the script is based on Jim Jacobs' experience at William Taft High School. Warren Casey collaborated with Jacobs in writing the music and lyrics. "Grease" tackles social issues pertinent to 1950s teens and touches on matters of friendship, rebellion, acceptance, class conflict, dreams and love requited. The show received seven Tony Award nominations in 1972. An eight-year run on Broadway and two subsequent revivals, along with innumerable school and community productions, has placed "Grease" among the world's most popular musicals.

Rydell High's senior class of 1959 includes the duck-tailed, hot-rodding "Burger Place Boys" and their gum-snapping, hip-shaking "Pink Ladies" in bobby sox and pedal pushers, evoking the look and sounds of the 1950s in this rollicking musical. Head "greaser" Danny Zuko and new (good) girl Sandy Dumbrowski try to relive the high romance of their summer through the song "Summer Nights." Danny brags to the guys and Sandy shares her side of the story with the gals. Danny is torn between maintaining his macho image and earning Sandy's affections. The rest of the gang sings and dances its way through songs such as "Greased Lightnin'," "It's Raining on Prom Night" and "Alone at the Drive-In Movie," recalling the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Elvis Presley that became the soundtrack of a generation.

STONC's production of "Grease" features professional actors from the tri-state area and across Connecticut. Melody Libonati's son, Christian, of New Canaan, is playing Danny. Other local professional artists include Sharon Malane, of New Canaan, as Sandy; Mike Bloom as Eugene; Grace Hardin as Patty; Ben Simpson as Doodie and Emily Hannon Roberts as Miss Lynch.

"Grease" previews at Waveny Park, Farm Road, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 20; 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 21; and at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 25. The show runs through Aug. 11. Performances take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Special Senior Sunday on July 21 offers all seniors a reduced ticket price.

All performances, rain or shine, are presented in the theater's state-of-the-art open-air tent with reserved seating plus stage-side and orchestra box dining as well as open field seating and picnicking. The tent opens one hour prior to each performance for picnics or dining and the house opens 30 minutes prior to performances for regular ticket holders.

For tickets or information, call 203-966-4634 or visit stonc.org.