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 Hicks serves up one of two magic moments

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DreamHrt
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PostSubject: Hicks serves up one of two magic moments   Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:45 pm

ALEC HARVEY
News staff writer
There are really only two reasons to take in the national tour of "Grease," which opened Tuesday night at the BJCC Concert Hall.

The first is Emily Padgett, who sings "Hopelessly Devoted to You" as if she were the only Sandy Dumbrowski the world has ever known.

The second is Taylor Hicks, who kicks things up a notch as Taylor Hicks ... I mean ... Teen Angel, making an entrance that any former American Idol would envy.

Both of those moments, unfortunately, come well after the start of the second act, following nearly 1 hours of a show that's just fine. It's so "just fine," with no spectacular performances and some pretty pedestrian dance numbers, that it gets kind of boring. It's not that anyone sticks out like a sore thumb - it's that no one sticks out at all.

That includes the usually reliable characters of Danny Zuko, who steals Sandy's heart during a summer romance, and Betty Rizzo, the proverbial bad girl with a heart of gold.

As played by Eric Schneider and Allie Schulz on Tuesday night, they were just two more students at Rydell High, far from the dynamic duo that has ruled the school in so many "Grease" incarnations before this one. Sure, they can sing, but they're lacking much-needed charisma. Schneider, especially, blends in so much that he could easily be mistaken for a member of the chorus, not the star of the show.

Not so with Hicks, who does his hometown proud with a brief but oh-so-memorable performance as Teen Angel. Like a few songs he sang in "American Idol" and probably didn't want to, Hicks takes "Beauty School Dropout" and, apologies to Paula, makes it his own. In the process, he gives Frenchy (Kate Morgan Chadwick) the line of the night (we won't ruin one of the show's only fresh moments here).

Kathleen Marshall does double duty as director and choreographer, and she's either not at the top of her game, or the cast is just plain tired after a tour that began nine months ago. The show is sometimes clumsy and awkward, with sets that pale in comparison to others we've seen on Birmingham stages.

Once "Grease" ends, Hicks comes out to sing his single, "Seven Mile Breakdown." It's a bit jarring, but at that point, something needs to be jarred. Hicks knows how to rev up a crowd, even when they've been lulled nearly to sleep before he arrives.


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PostSubject: Re: Hicks serves up one of two magic moments   Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:59 am

That's nice praise.....
~tyg




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PostSubject: Re: Hicks serves up one of two magic moments   Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:39 pm

Taylor Rocks Glad to hear such great praise for our guy! He certainly deserves it.
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PostSubject: Re: Hicks serves up one of two magic moments   Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:30 pm

the should have stick with Max Crumb playing the part of Danny. It would have made for a much better show.

And yes Tay is Great in Grease.
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PostSubject: Re: Hicks serves up one of two magic moments   Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:01 am

It's interesting. Those same thoughts were put in print when Grease was here in Tucson. The show lacked punch but as soon as Taylor steps out on the stage everything changes. Good article and excellent praise for Taylor.
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