Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 19, 2013

'Sing-a-long-a Grease' and its hopelessly devoted fans

BY LAURIE MIHOLER-ZACHRITZ Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Abby Porter of Traverse City is planning an evening on the town Saturday with her 7-year-old daughter, Mae.

The pair will be in the audience when the brand new "Sing-a-long-a" version of "Grease" comes to the City Opera House.

“I’ve loved the movie ever since I first saw it,” Porter said. “We’re going on a special date night, just the two of us. She’s so excited.”

Opera House officials say hopelessly devoted fans of the popular 1978 cinema classic starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John will be out in force for a summer night of rocking and rolling with the interactive musical extravaganza. Ticket sales have captured fans as far away as Rockford and Ann Arbor, said Jenny Notewear, the venue's box office and business manager.

“This has quite a draw from quite an area,” she said. “It’s just a feel-good movie, it never gets old.”

All Pink Ladies and T-Bird wanna-be’s are encouraged to dress the part in their poodle skirts and leather jackets, said Kristi Docker, City Opera House director of operations and marketing. Small prizes will be awarded for the audience-judged costume contest before the show.

“It’s such a hoot," she said. "We’ll have the clap-o-meter out for it.”

Fans of Sandy, Danny and the gang will get greased for the performance with a pre-show vocal warm-up led by host Stefanie Miller, who travels with the production. Beauty school dropouts and race car drivers alike will receive goodie bags filled with props and instructions on how to jive, cheer and sing-a-long-a with Rydell High’s coolest couple.

Miller said the audience actively participates throughout the show, dancing and singing to their favorite tunes to on-screen lyrics and using props from the goodie bags at key moments during the show.

“It’s fun,” Miller said. “No matter what sort of mood people come in with, they’re ready to put aside whatever’s going on outside and spend an hour or so having a good time.”

Both Docker and Notewear say this musical is especially fun for large groups. That’s the way Traverse City resident Sandy Denny plans to experience it. She’s bringing nine of her family members and a family friend.

“We have four daughters ranging in age from 30 to 50, and they all grew up enjoying this music,” said Denny. “We listened to it a lot, they loved it.”

Denny said she and husband Pat, one of only two men in their group, plan to dress up somewhat.

“Since he doesn’t smoke anymore, Pat will have to go buy a pack of cigarettes to roll up in his T-shirt,” she said, laughing.