GREASE brings "Summer Lovin'" to Chicago in January

January 12, 2009 10:18:51 AM PST
Grease has its roots in Chicago, where audiences first met Sandy and Danny, the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds. Now the classic Broadway musical returns bringing some "Summer Lovin'" back to town in the midst of a cold January. Chicago audiences can once again bop and jive with the gang from Rydell High in the updated production at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University through January 18.

The story remains the same: after spending a hopelessly devoted summer with Sandy Dumbrowski (Emily Padgett), the new girl in town, Danny Zuko's (Eric Schneider) world is thrown upside down when Sandy appears at Rydell on the first day of school. What follows is a rock n' roll celebration of growin' up, cruisin' with friends and goin' steady. The new version of Grease features, for the first time ever in a Broadway production, songs from the smash hit 1978 film including "Sandy," and the Academy Award nominated song "Hopelessly Devoted to You." It also includes the songs from the film adaptation, "Grease" and "You're the One That I Want," both of which were #1 hits on the Billboard Top 100 list. These songs are heard in addition to the Jacobs/Casey songs made famous by the original stage production, including "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightnin'" and "We Go Together."

"American Idol" Season Five winner, Taylor Hicks stars as "Teen Angel." Hicks made his Broadway debut in the role last summer. He achieved widespread fame in 2006 as a contestant on the hugely successful "American Idol" singing competition. Starring as "Rizzo" will be Allie Schulz, a contestant on the TV show "Grease: You're the One That I Want." Allie comes directly from the Broadway Company of Grease.

The tour also stars Scot Patrick Allan as "Eugene," Will Blum as "Roger," Bridie Carroll as "Jan," Kate Morgan Chadwick as "Frenchy," Brian Crum as "Doody," Kelly Felthous as "Marty," Dominic Fortuna as "Vince Fontaine," Erin Henry as "Patty Simcox," Roxie Lucas as "Miss Lynch," David Ruffin (who attended Northwestern University) as "Kenickie," and Nick Verina (who studied at Second City) as "Sonny."

The ensemble features Joseph Corella, Preston Ellis, Melissa Larsen, Ruby Lewis, Lisa Maietta, Dayla Perkins, Mark Raumaker, Mike Russo, Matthew William Schmidt and Brooke Stone.

This new production of Grease opened on Broadway on August 19, 2007; it was born out of TV talent competition "Grease: You're The One That I Want." The weekly talent competition drew 90 million viewers, and America voted for its favorite contestants to play the lead roles of Sandy and Danny on Broadway. The production is directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall ("The Pajama Game," "Wonderful Town"). The book, music and lyrics are by the late Warren Casey who made Chicago his home in 1962 and Chicago native Jim Jacobs. Additional songs from the film are by Barry Gibb, John Farrar, Louis St. Louis and Scott Simon.

Grease features scenic design by Tony Award nominee Derek McLane ("The Pajama Game"), costume design by two-time Tony Award winner Martin Pakledinaz ("Thoroughly Modern Millie," "Kiss Me Kate"), lighting design by Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner ("The Coast of Utopia," "Wicked") and sound design by Brian Ronan ("Spring Awakening," "Curtains").

Grease originated in Chicago and made its premiere at The Kingston Mines Theater in 1971 before making its New York premiere off-Broadway at the Eden Theatre on February 14, 1972. After 128 sold-out performances, the show made the transition to Broadway taking up residence at the Broadhurst Theatre on June 7, 1972. GREASE? was nominated for seven Tony Awards in its spectacular initial run. On November 21, 1972, the show moved to the Royale Theatre before making its final transfer on January 20, 1980 to the Majestic Theatre. It closed as the longest running show in Broadway history after playing 3,388 performances.

In 1978, Grease became a hugely popular feature film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the lead roles. A Broadway revival opened on May 11, 1994 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre where it played 1,503 performances and won three Tony Award nominations. The current Broadway production of Grease opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on August 19, 2007 following preview performances which began on July 24, 2007.

The film version of Grease produced one of the best-selling soundtracks in history and is the highest-grossing movie musical of all time. The two Travolta/Newton-John duets, "You're The One That I Want" and "Summer Nights" were both #1 hits and appear on the United Kingdom's All-Time Best-Selling Singles list. The song "Hopelessly Devoted to You" was nominated for an Academy Award (1979) for Best Music ? Original Song and the film's title song, "Grease" was a #1 smash hit single for singer Frankie Valli.

Tickets are available at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University box office (50 E. Congress Pkwy.); all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., and 18 W. Monroe St.); the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (312) 902-1400; all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix, select Carson Pirie Scott stores, Coconuts and fye stores); and online at Tickets are available to groups of 20 or more by calling (312) 977-1710.

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A small town girl from Lewisville, NC with a big time love for performing. As a child, her parents were always playing Broadway cast albums. From then on, Emily was hooked on musical theatre. She studied dance, starred in community theatre and moved to NYC to study at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. After AMDA, Emily toured with the 25th Anniversary production of CATS as Demeter and then made her Broadway debut in Grease understudying Sandy and Patty. Other Broadway credits include Legally Blonde playing DA Joyce Riley and u/s Margo, Pilar and Brooke Wyndham.


Last seen making his Broadway debut in Jersey Boys, Eric played the role of Frankie Valli. Off-Broadway he appeared in Altar Boyz and toured in: Altar Boyz, The Full Monty. Regional theater appearances: Happy Days (Paper Mill Playhouse/Goodspeed), Yank! (Arden). Film/TV: Loverboy (directed by Kevin Bacon), Johnny and the Sprites. He can be heard on the Original Cast Recording of Happy Days The Musical.