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Taylor Hicks Brings More Hot Rods and High Hair to Grease

Jordan Wright
By Jordan Wright
Posted on Feb 16,2010
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,
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Photo by FLICKR/queltor/2663800775/<br />The night turned starry when former Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, playing Teen Angel, sprung from a giant ice cream cone in a blue sequined suit, his riveting personality electrifying the audience who shrieked and applauded his raspy country singing and bluesy harmonica playing.
Photo by FLICKR/queltor/2663800775/
The night turned starry when former Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, playing
Teen Angel, sprung from a giant ice cream cone in a blue sequined suit,
his riveting personality electrifying the audience who shrieked and
applauded his raspy country singing and bluesy harmonica playing.

WASHINGTON, DC - GREASE is one of those throwback shows that will always delight baby boomers who define their teen years by hot rods, high school and high hair.  
Apparently the allure has recently transcended the genre because I was quite surprised to see so many 20 and 30-somethings in the audience singing along with the 50’s tunes at the current performance of the Tony Award nominated show at The National Theatre.
 

Courtesy of National Theatre<br />The limited engagement runs through Feb. 21.
Courtesy of National Theatre
The limited engagement runs through Feb. 21.

The production opens up with the high-energy Dominic Fortuna as Vince, warming up the mostly local crowd and “greasing” the wheels for the evening.  

He exudes song bits and shtick, instructing the audience in a seated version of the Monkey, the Swim and the Funky Chicken.   

But all this comes to nought in a production that never coheres.  There’s plenty of talent in the dancing and singing, especially the a capella moments, though Lauren Ashley Zakrin, playing goody-goody turned hipster, Sandy, was pitchy in places in her solos.  
 
As for former American Idol contender, Ace Young, he nails his role with brio…his voice clear, strong and sexy…his dancing dead on.
 
“I was a football player and all-round athlete in high school,” he told me at the cast party. When I asked him how long it took to learn the complex routines he said, “I had two weeks of rehearsal, but I’ve always been a good dancer.”
 
The night turned starry when former Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, playing Teen Angel, sprung from a giant ice cream cone in a blue sequined suit, his riveting personality electrifying the audience who shrieked and applauded his raspy country singing and bluesy harmonica playing.  

Photo by Jordan Wright/Local Kicks <br /> <br />Ace Young after the show.
Photo by Jordan Wright/Local Kicks
Ace Young after the show.

Note to his agent: Hicks soulfulness could use a more appropriate vehicle than a be-bop forum.
 
When Hicks sings “Beauty School Dropout” to Frenchy, played by Kate Morgan Chadwick, he goes all googly-eyed as she twists his chest hair telling him, “I voted for you.”  

A reference, no less, to the Idol competition.

Hicks achieved widespread fame in 2006 as a contestant on the hugely successful Fox singing competition. Hicks was named winner of the fifth season of "Idol" with over 63.4 million votes in total.

On March 10, Hicks will release his much anticipated new studio album The Distance. Produced by Simon Climie (of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Faith Hill fame), the first single off the album, "What's Right is Right" debuted in late January.

This new production of GREASE, which opened on Broadway in 2007, was born out of NBC's landmark talent competition TV series, "Grease: You're The One That I Want."

The weekly talent competition drew 90 million viewers, and viewers voted for its favorite contestants to play the lead roles of Sandy and Danny on Broadway.

Directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall, the show features book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

After spending a hopelessly devoted summer with Sandy Dumbrowski, the new girl in town, Danny Zuko's world is thrown upside down when Sandy appears at Rydell High on the first day of school.

What follows is a rock n' roll celebration of growin' up, cruisin' with friends and goin' steady.

Courtesy Photo <br /> <br />Former Idol winner Taylor Hicks, playing Teen Angel.
Courtesy Photo
Former Idol winner Taylor Hicks,
playing Teen Angel.

The new production of GREASE features songs from the smash hit 1978 motion picture for the first time ever in a Broadway production including "Sandy," the Academy Award nominated song "Hopelessly Devoted to You," "Grease" and "You're the One That I Want" - both  #1 hits on the Billboard Top 100.

Other Jacobs/Casey tunes made famous by the original stage production include "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightnin'" and "We Go Together."
 
This Grease could have shown more oomph, but see it for the nostalgia and see it for the talented Ace and Taylor.
 
For comments or questions on this article contact me at Jordan@WhiskandQuill.com or visit  www.WhiskandQuill.com

If You're Going...
 
GREASE!
at The National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Ave Nw
Washington, DC 20004
thru February 21
Performances Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings @ 7:30 pm
Fridays at 8 pm., Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, Sundays at 1 pm and 6:30 pm
For Tickets, call Ticketmaster at (800) 477-7400



Photo by Jordan Wright/Local Kicks <br /> <br />The cast of Grease at the after party at Hard Rock Cafe
Photo by Jordan Wright/Local Kicks
The cast of Grease at the after party at
Hard Rock Cafe



Photo by Jordan Wright <br /> <br />Taylor Hicks<br />
Photo by Jordan Wright
Taylor Hicks




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