A few days after celebrating its 200th performance, the Italian production of Grease, which was originally scheduled to run until May 30 at Rome's Teatro Sistina and was extended to June 14 only a few days after its premiere in the Eternal City, announced yesterday, May 27, a further extension. The show is now booking to July 12 and all performances until mid-June are completely sold out.
In its first four weeks in Rome the musical enjoyed an average attendance of 1,500 (99% of the house capacity), grossing over 2,2 billion lire (approximately 1,2 million dollars). The record breaking show is now challenging a long-lasting tradition in the Italian theatre, that is to stop performances during the hot summer months. As a matter of fact, most theatres in Italy traditionally close their doors at the end of May or at the beginning of June, to reopen again at the end of September. Italian theatre audiences have always shown a strong resistance to go to the theatre (as well as to cinema) during the summer, preferring to attend open-air performances at the various festival taking place all over the country in July and August.
In the meantime, producer Musical Italia announced that Grease star Lorella Cuccarini, who plays the leading role of Sandy in the musical, has been invited by Paramount Pictures to play a featured role in the forthcoming ninth film of the Star Trek saga. According to a Musical Italia's press release, Ms. Cuccarini has been contacted by the Los Angeles company after one of its top executives attended a performance of Grease in Rome. In an interview to Milan's "Corriere della Sera", the 32 year-old actress declared that she still cannot believe the news: "So far, I have only been to Hollywood as a tourist. I never thought I would be going back as an actress: I will be asking autographs from the entire Star Trek cast!".
The producers also announced that Ms. Cuccarini, who is a newcomer both to the stage and the cinema, having worked so far exclusively on television, will fly to Los Angeles June 8, and will not be performing in Grease June 9-11. The role of Sandy will be played by understudy Eleonora Russo.
The Rome production of Grease also stars Giampiero Ingrassia (Danny), Michele Carfora (Kenickie), Renata Fusco (Rizzo), Mal (Teen Angel), and Marco Predolin (Vince Fontaine). The musical is directed by Saverio Marconi and features scenes by Aldo De Lorenzo, costumes by Zaira De Vincentiis and choreography by Franco Miseria.Tickets for the Rome production of Grease are available at the Teatro Sistina box office (tel. +39 6 48.26.841) and at various ticket agencies in Rome including Prontospettacolo (tel. +39 6 220.127.116.11), Box Office (tel. +39 6 37.20.216) and Orbis (tel. +39 6 47.44.776). Further information may be found at the Grease hotline (+39 6 52.07.25), at the Teatro Sistina or Musical che spettacolo! websites.
--By Stefano Curti