Born to Hand Jive! Grease, With Taylor Louderman, Telly Leung, Robin De Jesus and Tommy Bracco, Opens

By Michael Gioia
01 Jun 2014

Bobby Conte Thornton and Taylor Louderman
Bobby Conte Thornton and Taylor Louderman
Photo by Jerry Dalia

Paper Mill Playhouse concludes its 75th anniversary season with Grease, which opens June 1 in Millburn, NJ. Bring It On's Taylor Louderman, "Glee" actor Telly Leung and two-time Tony Award nominee Robin De Jesus are among the cast.

With a book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, Grease is directed by Daniel Goldstein (Godspell) with original choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter. Additional songs are by John Farrar, Barry Gibb, Scott Simon and Louis St. Louis.

Grease stars Louderman (Bring It On) as Sandy Dumbrowski, Bobby Conte Thornton as Danny Zuko, De Jesus (La Cage aux Folles, In the Heights) as Doody, Leung (Godspell, "Glee") as Teen Angel, Morgan Weed as Betty Rizzo, Shane Donovan (South Pacific national tour) as Kenickie, Dana Steingold (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee national tour) as Frenchy, Tommy Bracco (Newsies) as Sonny, Joey Sorge (Nice Work If You Can Get It) as Vince Fontaine, Donna English (Nice Work If You Can Get It) as Miss Lynch, Tess Soltau (The Addams Family) as Marty, Matt Wood as Roger, Leela Rothenberg as Jan, Eloise Kropp (Little Me and The Most Happy Fella at Encores!) as Patty Simcox, Sean Patrick Doyle as Eugene and Kat Nejat (Lysistrata Jones, West Side Story) as Cha-Cha.

Rounding out the cast are Kevin Santos (In the Heights), Gillian Munsayac, Mike Longo (Tamar of the River) and Kate Bailey.



"Paper Mill Playhouse is thrilled to breathe new life into America's most popular musical," said Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill's producing artistic director, in a previous statement. "Our production will feature the iconic songs from the feature film along with your favorite tunes from the stage version. What excites us most about Grease is fulfilling Paper Mill’s mission of nurturing young talent. Five members of the Grease company will receive their Actors' Equity card during the run."

The musical began performances May 28 for a run through June 29.

Here's how Paper Mill bills the classic: "The world's #1 musical bursts on to the Paper Mill stage in an all-new production. Grease is a rock-n-roll celebration of growing up and falling in love set in the fabulous fifties. Grease strikes a universal chord with an irresistible mix of fast cars and first loves. It's Danny and Sandy, Frenchy and Kenickie, and don’t forget about Rizzo. Grease is a thrilling injection of pure fun with astounding dancing and amazing songs."

Other members of the creative team include choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, music director Brad Simmons, scenic designer Derek McLane, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, lighting designer Charlie Morrison, sound designer Randy Hansen, costume coordinator and additional design by Thomas Charles LeGalley, hair and wig designer Leah J. Loukas and production stage manager Andrea Cibelli.

Paper Mill will offer audio-described performances for Grease June 21 and June 22 at 1:30 PM. Prior to these performances, the theatre will offer free sensory seminars, which offer an opportunity for patrons with vision loss to hear a live, in-depth description of the production elements of the show and hands-on interaction with key sets, props and costumes. There will be a sign-interpreted and open-captioned performance June 22 at 7 PM.

Sunday evening performances of Grease are "1950s dress up nights." Audience members who show up in a 1950s outfit receive a 20 percent discount at the Paper Mill Playhouse Gift Shop.

Paper Mill Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ. For more information and tickets, call (973) 376-4343 or visit PaperMill.org.

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Shane Donovan, Morgan Weed, Taylor Louderman and Bobby Conte Thornton
Photo by Matthew Murphy