Linda Blair, star of the 1970s film hit The Exorcist," has taken over the role of Rizzo in the long-running Broadway revival of Grease!. If you've seen her performance, please review it in Playbill On-Line's Message Board.
How is the show holding up? What do you think about it in general? The story, the songs, the performers? Which of its special guest stars (Brooke Shields, Lucy Lawless, Jon Secada, Joe Piscopo, Sheena Easton) have you seen, and did you like them in their roles? The critics have weighed in with their opinions; here's a chance to add your opinion to theirs.
Please post your comments - long or short -- in the Grease subject under the Playbill Critics Circle topic on the Playbill On-Line Message Board. Playbill thanks, in advance, those who take the time to write.
The following are reviews received prior to the launch of our Message Boards. Please post all future reviews to the Message Boards:
From Marsha Clark, Columbia, SC:
I saw the original Grease 20 some odd years ago and loved it. This past October, I returned to be sure my son had the same opportunity. I have seen 8 Broadway plays. I wanted to boo and walk out of Grease, but decided to suffer through just to be polite. They must have had a $200 budget for the set and even less for cast. Not only would I not recommend it to anyone, I would warn them not to waste their money or time. (7/13/97)
From Karen a (email@example.com):
My family saw Grease on Saturday April 12, 1997 We thought it was lots of fun. My husband and I, along with 4 teenagers age 13-19, had great seats. It is a small theatre so you really feel as though you're part of the show. The sets were amaturish, but it didn't matter, because the show, its characters, plot etc. was everything we hoped and more! I've seen quite a few of the Broadway shows in the past 2 years, either on Broadway or the Hershey theatre. Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, The King & I and Annie (Joanna Pacitti's 2nd to last performance as Annie in Hershey, my daughter and I loved her as Annie).
I'm not saying Grease compares with the magnitude of those shows. But it was FUN!!!!!!!
However, where the heck was Dominque Dawes? It had only been back on stage for 4 days. My daughter was disappointed, as she is a big gymastics fan. She was not the reason we bought tickets, but after it was announced that she was one of the stars, we were excited to see her. She is even featured on a poster in the $10.00 keepsake program.
I can't imagine Rosie O'Donnell or Brooke Sheilds as Betty Rizzo. Rizzo's song "There are worse things I could do" needs a great voice. The current Rizzo, Angela Pupello, seemed to fit the part. We especially liked Eugene, Christopher Youngman. And Joe Piscopo was excellent!!! I wished I could have seen Davy Jones as Vince Fontaine.
One of the best things about Grease is the fact that the actors appeared to be having a great time. And it showed in their performances.
Yeah......Grease is the word!!!!
What's my favorite Broadway musical? No not Grease...it's Les Miserables! I've seen it 3 times and I also own the 10th anniversary video. I'd be happy to see it again, anytime. (4/14/97)
From Tonya Denise Powell:
I have seen Grease twice. The first time was the touring production that starred Adrien Zmed, Sally Struthers, and Debbie Gibson. All were very talented, and the vocals were extremely strong. I loved it.
So much in fact that I decided to check out the show on Broadway in December. The only big name in this production was Tracy Nelson. While she was not as good as Debbie Gibson in the Rizzo role, she was outstanding. I didn't know what to expect since I could only picture Tracy Nelson in one of two ways: the valley girl on Square Pegs and the nun on Father Dowling. But Tracy definitely got her family's genes for singing. She had a strong voice and a spicy attitude.
If you want to go to a show and come out feeling good, go to see Grease. It is light hearted and enjoyable for the entire family. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself humming We Go Together on the subway ride home! (3/16/97)
From Chhavi Ghuliani:
"Grease!" is perhaps one of the most enduring stories of all time, and after seeing the Broadway production for a second time I can see why. When the current revival first opened on Broadway, Rosie O'Donnell played the part of Betty Rizzo, easily the most interesting and well developed of the cast of characters. O'Donnell got the attitude right, but she certainly wasn't easy on the ears. Her clunky vocals made even the serious "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" into a farce.
Now that Sheena Easton has stepped into the role, there is an appropriate balance to Rizzo's character. She's charmingly outlandish and absurd one minute, and serious and moody the next. Easton is surprisingly well suited as the feisty, funky Rizzo, even if she doesn't quite get the accent down at times. She uses her silky and smooth voice to bring a new sensuality to Rizzo that seems to have been blatantly missing in the past.
The remainder of the cast was strong, especially Ric Ryder, and the familiar songs were infectious (and inescapable - patrons were singing them in the rest room stalls and outside of the theater). You won't leave "Grease!" thinking you've seen a masterpiece, but you will have a good time.
The show is a day glo nightmare...it is hard to see how such a gem could be ruined...I'll tell you how, bad acting, cheesy choreography, high-school level (and I don't mean Rydell ) props and sets. The producers are definitely aiming for the lowest common denominator. Close this mess- it is living off it's parents' reputation.
From Albert Guerra:
I saw the touring group in San Antonio, TX and I will say that this is one musical in which the movie was far better than the play. The play was not impressive at all and neither was Debbie Gibson as Rizzo. About the only character worth watching was the school's principal played by "All IN The Family"'s Sally S. There was too much neon, too much leather, and not enough characters. Younger crowds liked it but then again they like Madonna too. One act was good enough for me. Been there, done it, wouldn't recommend it.
From Madeline C. Ricciardi, Stony Brook, NY:
This year I was able to see seven Broadway shows and one Off-Broadway. Maybe I should say six Broadway shows, because Grease! was one of the shows. At one point during the show I became confused, I thought I was at an off off off Broadway show, as in high school play. I was totally disappointed.
The sets were amateurish. I did not like the new songs, and my favorite songs were missing. When I purchased the tickets I thought I was seeing Debbie Boone as Rizzo, only the find out Debbie was leaving the show before my ticket date. Mackenzie Phillips was playing Rizzo when I was to see the show. To my advantage, Mackenzie did perform the day I was there. Debbie and Mackenzie, aren't they a little to old to pay a high school student? Who's going to play Rizzo next, Phyllis Diller?
I bought the tickets because of a Playbill discount offer with a contest for walk on (By the way, who won?) [The drawing is Nov. 6 -ed.]. I guess that's a good thing, because I didn't pay full price. I don't understand how it lasted over two years on Broadway.