Thursday, November 6, 2014

GREASE Will Always Be The Word

Here's a look back at the 1950s, plus rave reviews for the Gawad Buhay award-winning production by 9 Works Theatrical in 2013 …

Press Release:

The 1950s is a period of wholesome, straight-laced, prosperous living – a picture perfect life of what America should be. War had passed and fears have subsided. For the younger generation, school hops, dances, bonfires, and rallies were the rage, not to mention, hang-outs at soda fountains, drive-in movies, and all-night slumber parties. 

The teens of America enjoyed the birth of rock and roll and declared themselves to be free and authentic, distancing themselves from tradition and conformity. These were the “greasers,” teen boys who showed their rebellion with shiny, slicked back hair, thick black leather jackets, and tight jeans as personified by 1950s bad boy icon James Dean. Girls showed their sexual aggression by wearing pedal pushers and tightly fitted sweaters. Instead of thinking about their future husbands, they dreamt of movie stars and even dropped out of school, as exemplified by the character of Frenchy.

Danny and Sandy
These occurrences served as inspiration for Grease creators Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey to piece together one of theater’s most beloved musicals. Using themes like teen angst, freedom, and sexual identity, which were prevalent during the late 1950s, Grease highlights and glamorizes the period where the teens of the time had a greater awakening as they progressed to the next decade. 

Doody and Frenchy
Matched with incredible songs, superb theater actors, impressive backdrops, and an engaging storyline, it’s no wonder why this new American classic is still very much relatable. The tradition was very much carried over to 9 Works Theatrical’s Grease which had a celebrated run in 2013, earning numerous rave reviews, a Gawad Buhay Award and several nominations. 

Here are just some of the commendable words said about last year’s production: 

“With the different characters and issues in the show, you can't help but relate and reminisce about your high school life. The re-staging of “Grease” in Manila helps prove why, for many people, high school was one of the best times of their lives. It’s the kind of show that can make you believe that you can be who you are, and that “Grease” is definitely the word, a timeless story that no matter how old you are, you are part of them.” – Mac Macapendeg, GMA News
Rizzo, Danny, and Sandy
“Reproducing classics can sometimes lead to dangerous waters; playing it again and again to a familiar audience ends up being dull and boring. But 9 Works Theatrical manages to bring in the fun and stay faithful to the production’s many previous incarnations that one must ask: Who knew Grease could ever feel so fresh?” - Margarita Buenaventura, The Philippine Star

“Critics have dubbed this “well-oiled” production of 9 Works Theatrical as the best staging of the show to date, “beating its predecessors by a mile.” With its jukebox set, concert vibe, and showcase of well-loved classics like “Summer Nights,” “You’re the One that I Want,” and “Greased Lightnin,” you can’t help but leave the theater smiling from ear to ear, dancing on your tippy toes, and nursing a serious case of L.S.S.” -

Johnny and Cha-Cha
“The energy of the cool Rydell High students inspired the audience to join the bopping and hand jiving, especially to the “dip di-dip di-dip doo-bop a doo-bee doo” of “We Go Together.”” – Michael Joe T. Delizo, Manila Bulletin

“The Manila run of Grease is a must-watch for its energetic song numbers as well as great acting moments of the cast. This is a pleasant surprise considering that there were newbies who had the huge responsibility of bringing life to major moments of the musical.” – Nikko Tuazon, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal)

“This 2013 version is by far the most fun as it truly captured the youthful effervescence of the 1950s.” - Vladimir Bunoan,

Rizzo, Sandy, and Marty
Regarded as the “Tony Awards” of the country, the PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay Awards for the Performing Arts acknowledged Grease as the most Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Musical. The show also earned other nominations, including Outstanding Musical Direction (Sweet Plantado-Tiongson and Joseph Tolentino), Outstanding Choreography for a Play or Musical (Arnold Trinidad and Francis Matheu), Male Lead Performance in a Musical (Gian Magdangal), Outstanding Stage Direction for a Play or Musical (Robbie Guevara), and Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical.

Fresh from their big win and recognition, this year’s rerun of Grease will be another much-awaited event, gathering a new cast of talent to breathe life into the characters of Rydell High. New leads and TV personalities Guji Lorenzana and Tippy Dos Santos are ready to give powerful performances as Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski, respectively. The new class includes TV personality Steven Silva as Johnny Casino, Alex Godinez as Marty, Marvin Ong alternating as Doody, Nelsito Gomez as Sonny LaTierri, Gabriela Pangilinan as Cha-Cha DiGregorio, and making her comeback in the local theater scene is Antoinette Taus as the feisty leader of the Pink Ladies, Betty Rizzo.

Jan and Roger
Don’t forget the original cast members returning to the stage: TV personality and GMA talent Rafa Siguion-Reyna as Kenickie, Reb Atadero as Roger, Vince Lim alternating as Doody, Peachy Atilano as Frenchy, Sarah Facuri as Jan, James Stacey as Vince Fontaine, Harold Cruz as Eugene Florczyk, Sab Jose as Patty Simcox, and Angela Padilla as Miss Lynch. And just like last year, keep an eye out for different Teen Angel cameos every night.

The artistic team of Grease is headed by Robbie Guevara as director, together with Lorenz Martinez as assistant director, Joseph Tolentino as musical director for instrumentation, Sweet Plantado-Tiongson as musical director for vocals, Arnold Trinidad and Francis Matheu as choreographers, Mio Infante as scenographer (set and costume designer), John Batalla as lighting designer, Chuck Ledesma as sound designer, Myrene Santos as hair and makeup designer, Gerhard Daco as Technical Director, Twinkle Zamora for costume execution, Leo Castillo as photographer, Tin Samson as playbill editor, and Larry Palma as graphic designer.
Sonny and Marty
Heading the production team is executive producer Santi Santamaria, with Anna Santamaria as company manager, Toff de Venecia as PR director, GM Hernandez as marketing manager, Jonjon Martin and Issa Tuason as PR managers, Anna Escalona as Business Development Manager, Randy Salvador as production manager, and Aries Alcayaga as stage manager.   

For over 40 years, Grease has remained one of the world’s most popular and beloved musicals. Time Magazine even dubbed its 2007 Broadway revival as the “#1 Musical of the Year.” Now Danny, Sandy, Rizzo, Kenickie, and the Rydell gang are back, ready to bop and hand-jive at the RCBC Plaza, Makati, all weekends from November 15 to December 7, 2014. Grease will have Friday and Saturday galas at 8:00pm, Saturday matinees at 3:30pm and Sunday matinees at 4:00pm.

A limited number of performances are available for fundraising and block-buying. For tickets and other inquiries, please call 586.7105 or 0917.554.5560, or email Facebook: 9workstheatrical. Twitter & Instagram: @9WTonline. Hashtag: #GreaseManila  

GREASE is presented by 9 Works Theatrical with MAC Cosmetics as the Official Makeup Sponsor. Official photos by Photoworks Academy.   "Grease" is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW), 1359 Broadway, Suite 914, New York, NY. 10018.


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