Despite many people having seen the legendary film "Grease," a number of folks are still unaware the musical version isn't as animated as the film.
While the storyline is the same, the musical, from which the film was adapted, charms its way into the audience's heart by keeping the theatrics a bit simpler, with the goal of recreating a more realistic high school experience that teens and adults can still relate to, even though the show is set in the 1950s.
So don't be surprised when you don't see a lot of collar-popping or smooth guys in globs of hair gel when Sussex Technical High School opens with "Grease" the musical at Possum Hall Thursday night.
"It's a feel-good musical. When you watch it it's fun," said director Linda Killion, of Lewes. "You can relate to the characters. That's why I actually prefer the stage version to the film version because you relate to the characters more."
For instance, "the character of Sandy changes schools and she has to adapt to the new customs and with the way the kids at the new school do things," she said. "We've all had changes in our lives, especially with a lot of people when they're younger."
Similar to the film, "Grease" the musical introduces Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski who fall in love during summer vacation. Once summer ends, the lovebirds doubt they'll ever see each other again. As fate would have it, the pair find each other at Rydell High School. Dumbrowski is still smitten with Zuko, but he tries to play it cool in front of his friends like his heart isn't skipping beats for her. As time goes on, a role reversal occurs and Zuko finds himself chasing after Dumbrowski like a puppy.
Unlike the film, Sandy's last name in the musical is Dumbrowski and not Olsson. In addition, she's American in the musical, not Australian.
"They've adapted the film around Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, which they do with the stars," Killion explained. "[Newton-John is] Austrian, so apparently they made her from Australia. But in the original story she's not."
What's more, Killion said the iconic hotrod Grease Lightning was merely a shabby ride constructed from "junk parts," before Hollywood flipped the script. "They really jazzed it up in the film to be this slick vehicle, no pun intended."
Going out 'with a bang'
Playing in a classic musical like "Grease" is sweet in itself, but landing the lead roles has been more so for sophomore Cameron Malone (as Zuko) and senior Kara Bethke (as Dumbrowski) as neither of them have had the pleasure of playing leads in their theater careers until now.
Page 2 of 2 - "When I got the part, I ran up the hallway three times like a little kid on Christmas," smiled Malone, 16, of Delmar.
Malone's counterpart had a slightly different reaction when she learned of the good news.
"It's such an accomplishment to me," said Bethke, 18, of Millsboro. "When the cast list went up in school in February, I cried when I saw it. It makes me really happy that I can go out of my senior year with a bang. I've finally accomplished what I wanted to."
IF YOU GO
WHAT 'Grease' the musical
WHEN 7 p.m. Thursday; 7 p.m., Friday; 7 p.m., Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday
WHERE Possum Hall, 441 Old Laurel Road, Georgetown
INFO Visit possumpointplayers.org or call 856-3460