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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Grease is the word

    There’s no doubt musical theatre patrons circled February 24th on their calendars when the Broadway in Tucson lineup was released, but who knew the Grease leads would be doing the same when they saw the Old Pueblo on their list of tour dates.

    “”We’ve been hitting some pretty cold spots lately so we’re definitely excited,”” said Eric Schneider, the actor out to put his own spin on Danny, the character John Travolta brought to life on the big screen in 1978.

    “”I’ll take anything over 40 at this point,”” added Schneider.

    Schneider and his fellow cast members face the challenge of taking a classic story about American high school life in the 1950s and making it fresh and new to audiences across the country.

    “”It’s a very young energetic group and everyone brings their own personal twist to these characters that people know and love so well from the movie,”” said Schneider.

    “”That really makes the show pop and gives it a lot of energy.””

    In high school Schneider made a jump from the field to the stage, joining theater after spending most of his extracurricular time playing sports. He ended up studying at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York.

    “”I never really just considered it a hobby,”” said Schneider.

    “”I always considered it where I kind of belonged and what I belonged doing,”” he continued.

    Grease follows Danny and his gang, the T-Birds, and the lovely Pink Ladies through the turmoil of high school life. Numbers like “”Summer Nights”” and “”You’re the One That I Want”” are natural sing-a-longs that have become karaoke night staples.

    “”Everybody knows Grease,”” said Emily Padgett, who sees a lot of herself in her Grease counterpart, Sandy, the good girl and newest member of the Pink Ladies.

    “”When I look back at high school, I definitely, like Sandy, was attracted to the rougher kids,”” Padgett said.

    Her favorite scene to perform is a major character shift for Sandy.

    “”It’s when she decides to shock everybody and say I’m not just going to sit here and be made fun of.””

    Padgett also studied at AMDA before touring with the 25th Anniversary production of Cats.

    “”Going to the show is going to work, but once you’re there and you’re on stage it’s almost a time to relax because it doesn’t feel like work when you’re doing it,”” she said.

    This tour of Grease features a familiar face playing the role of Teen Angel.

    “”Simon’s a nice guy – wink, wink,”” said 2006 American Idol winner Taylor Hicks.

    The Birmingham, Alabama native is making his Broadway debut with his own interpretation of the role.

    “”The cool part about Teen Angel is that I got to make the part my own,”” he said.

    “”From designing the costume to writing some cool R&B lines to getting to play a little bit of harmonica; it’s Taylor-made.””

    After Tucson the tour is set to hit San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. According to Padgett, living on the road is a great way to save money and see the country.

    “”We have our whole life with us,”” she said.

    “”It’s kind of a different energy in every city that you go to depending on the space that you’re in and the feedback that you’re getting from the crowd,”” said Schneider.

    However Schneider believes no energy compares to that of the final number each night.

    “”It’s a couple thousand people all on the same page singing the same song having a great time,”” he said.

    “”The energy is through the roof.””

    As far as what the audience should expect to walk away with, Schneider said, “”I would like them to be taken out of their daily lives for a couple hours and go someplace else and have a great time.””

    GREASE

    February 24 – March 1

    Tucson Music Hall

    tickets range from $25-$68

    Student, senior and military discounts

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