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GREASE IS THE WORD (article first published : 2006-04-30)

The Barnyard Theatre Productions is staging a new rendition of the world-acclaimed rock ‘n roll musical Grease, which will be showing at the Gateway venue in association with East Coast Radio.

This new production will be directed by South African theatre doyen Ian von Memerty and features a young cast of some of the country’s brightest young talents. These include Durban’s Steve Peralta (Project Fame) as Danny Zuko, Natasha Staples (Bobby in Backstage) as Sandy, Lee Rath (Isidingo and 7de Laan) as Rizzo and Tessa Denton (7de Laan and The Rocky Horror) as Marty. Pierre van Hierden, who impressed as Amos Hart in the recent South African production of Chicago plays Roger.

Other cast members include Jeanette Summerton of Durban, Carly Graeme, Rozanne McKenzie, James MacEwan, Steven Hicks, Clinton Hawks, Shannyn Fourie, Jonathan Roxmouth, Lolly Sonmez, Rudi Jansen, Lebogang Motubuchi and Tanya Baleson.

Harold van Buuren (Strictly Come Dancing and Big Band Blast) will provide the choreography, while Sean Butler and Roelof Colyn (of countless Barnyard Theatre productions and A Handful of Keys respectively) will give a fresh new sound to the universally popular score.

Costumes have been designed by the acclaimed Durban-based artist Andrew Verster and they will be showcased on a versatile and striking set designed by Stan Knight, with lighting by Denis Hutchinson.

Grease had its world theatrical premiere on Broadway in 1972 and has triumphed throughout the world, both in acclaimed theatres and in countless school productions. In 1979 Grease took over the record as the longest-running show in the history of Broadway (with 3,388 performances), and the hit film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John proved to be the highest-grossing movie musical ever.

The plot concerns Danny, a member of the T-Birds (a greaser gang at mythical Rydell High), and Sandy, a sweet innocent who has just transferred there from the cloistered confines of Immaculata High. Having met at the beach, they fall in love immediately. But, as we used to sing in 1956, they live in “two different worlds.” So when Danny finally decides not to live up to her image of him as an all-American-boy track star, she puts on tight jeans and a bouffant hairdo, joins the Pink Ladies gang, starts French-inhaling Hit-Parade cigarettes and, naturally, gets her man.

Grease runs from May 9 to July 16. Tickets R150 pp (Buy One Get One Free promotions on Tuesday and Sunday shows). For bookings and enquiries, phone The Barnyard Theatre on 031 566 3045 or e-mail gateway@barnyardtheatre.co.za




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