Born in the nostalgia craze of the post-hippie era; brought to the screen during the waning days of disco, Grease the musical gives the people what they want: the 1972 smash that became one of the longest-running hits in Broadway history, fuel-injected with some of the best-remembered songs from the 1978 film. When borough-based Phoenix Productions greases the boards of the Count Basie Theatre for the next two weekends, they’ll be showcasing an energetic young cast in a slick vehicle that’s made to order as a summertime offering from the borough-based troupe. A lot more family-friendly (and a lot less Chicago-specific) than its original stage incarnation, the timeless tale of new-girl-in-town Sandy Dumbrowski (Maggie Bera) and greaser kingpin Danny Zuko (Phil Mazzara) promises to get the customary Phoenix treatment, as the company takes full advantage of the Basie’s scale and star-power for a tunefest that includes “You’re the One That I Want,” “Greased Lightning,” “Summer Nights,” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Ian Laudano (Kenickie) and Jennifer Townsend (Rizzo) head up a supporting cast of Pink Ladies and Greasers in the production that opens Friday, July 11 and continues through July 20.
Performances of Grease are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, plus Sundays at 3 pm — and tickets ($20-32) can be reserved by calling (732)747-0014 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Phoenix rises again in September with a new staging of an old favorite thing, The Sound of Music. Then in mid-November — right around the time that Two River Theater will be presenting a fresh look at Camelot — the Phoenix phalanx counters with a fish-schlapping journey to the glory that is Spamalot.