Restored, "R-rated" Grease slicks up American Theater Company's season
A restored version of the original Grease—the rowdy, raucous, "R-rated" version that played the old Kingston Mines 40 years ago, before it was bowdlerized for Broadway and Bee Gee–fied for the movies—will close the 2010–11 season at American Theater Company, the company announced last night. ATC artistic director PJ Paparelli has reportedly been working with Grease co-writer Jim Jacobs over the past year to restore the show to its original raunchy, Chicago-specific glory. (Jacobs's co-writer, Warren Casey, died of AIDS in 1988.) Paparelli will direct the revival for an April 2011 opening.
ATC's season kicks off in September with a pair of David Mamet revivals in repertory: Oleanna, directed by Rick Snyder, and Speed-the-Plow, directed by Jaime Castañeda, will star Mattie Hawkinson, Darrell W. Cox and Lance Baker. In February, Dexter Bullard directs the world premiere of Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal, which depicts the shared dinner-table moments of five generations of an American family (like a modern update of The Dining Room?). I believe it's the Chicago debut for LeFranc, a 2007 Brown M.F.A. who had his New York bow last year with Sixty Miles to Silver Lake at Soho Rep. The perennial It's a Wonderful Life rounds out the season, ATC's 26th. The company's next show, the world premiere of Welcome to Arroyo's by Kristoffer Diaz (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity), starts performances April 15.