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A new take on a classic favorite

The on-stage version of Grease will premiere at Park Playhouse in Albany this week, and fans of the 1978 movie musical will be given a taste of something familiar, yet unique.

"People will come and feel nostalgic watching something on stage, watching a live performance," said Owen Smith, the assistant producer. "But they'll have a different experience with it. It's a different energy with the live show."

"Grease" the movie has its fair share of memorable musical numbers, but "Grease" on stage has even more dancing and singing.

However, it was important to Smith, director Michael LoPorto, and other members of the creative staff that "Grease" on stage also had a strong story the audience could follow.

"You want 'Grease' to be more than just a big concert," said Smith.

Park Playhouse's "Grease" isn't all about the romance surrounding the characters that John Travolta and Olivia Newton John made famous, Danny and Sandy, but iincludes a more in-depth portrayal of characters the movie left out.

"There's differences in who the characters are, and the names of the characters," explained Smith. "Each couple, Doodie and Frenchy, Sonny and Marty, have their own story."

The story is not all that's different about "Grease" at Park Playhouse, but also the kind of crowd it's expected to attract.

Though many of the outdoor theatre's previous shows, like "My Fair Lady" or "Beauty and the Beast," were geared toward a more general audience, Smith and LoPorto think "Grease" will attract the kids and teenagers, since the story deals with high-school relationships and the loss of innocence. When casting the show, LoPorto made sure the actors looked the same age as the characters, unlike many other popular movies and T.V. shows that feature actors much older than the characters are supposed to be.

Smith said he was looking for a certain type of actor.

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