Grease Is The Way We Are Feeling
Some of the most iconic staples of American pop culture leave an enduring impact on society because of their ability to provide unadulterated escapism amidst personal or political turmoil. These works supply the levity, vibrancy, and solace needed to mitigate the pains one faces, even if they can only do so temporarily. While some of the best pieces of art compel viewers or listeners to absorb pain before experiencing catharsis, these works forsake despair to embrace warmth and contentment. For five decades, Grease, both the 1978 film and the 1971 musical that serves as the former's basis, has offered this bliss to all who could benefit from forgoing their sorrows to immerse themselves in the lives of the rebellious and uninhibited teens of Rydell High.
Grease is even more welcome during an era in which one's thoughts and troubles have become entirely inescapable. Humankind's prevailing need for pleasure proves how needed this exploration of the 1950's "working-class youth subculture" is as a choice for Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy's Spring Musical.
"It's something certain among much uncertainty," notes Lila Elkins '23, who plays the head of the high-powered Pink Ladies and Rydell's resident baddie, Betty "Rizzo" Rizzo. "Everyone knows Grease, and watching something you know is comforting,” she continues. Those bringing this production to life are evidently sensitive to the show’s ability to infinitely comfort. Directed by Head of the Drama Department for 30+ years, Dewey J. Oriente, Barrack's Grease does not reinterpret wholesome Sandy Dumbroski’s exploration of sexuality and independence upon reuniting with the winsome yet misguided Danny Zuko, respectively played by Miriam Singer ‘21 and Benjamin Fisher ‘21, as classmates at Rydell. Rather, the upper school production is a study in pure reverence of the unadulterated joy and nostalgia factor the musical provides. Where audiences won't be awestruck by reimaginings of true to form choreography or irreverent nods to the show’s cultural legacy, they are guaranteed to be gratified by the reliable and affirming euphoria Grease has always shared.