Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grease invaded by Hicks

The other day one of my Facebook friends announced that she was "going to see Taylor Hicks in Grease in Seattle today!" And that is about the only thing that's wrong with the production of the Jacobs and Casey musical playing through the end of the month at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

Call us un-American if you must, but my Sweetie, the official scorer, and I had our cable TV unplugged several years ago. Mostly it was because all we really wanted to watch on TV was the Mariners, and the Bavasi-era M's were just too painful to look at, certainly not worth the $50+ monthly cable bill. I'm sure we'd never have seen these shows anyway, but I've never seen an episode of "American Idolator", "Survivor", "Dancing With the Has-beens", "America's Next Scary Anorexic", or any of the other fodder that seems to make the world go 'round these days. So up until Sunday I wouldn't have known Taylor Hicks from the Unabomber if the three of us had met in the bar of JaK's Grill in West Seattle on a Monday evening when the theaters were dark.

Nothing against this Hicks dude, really, except the fact that most of the players in Grease were better singers and actors. We even had an understudy Sandy, Ruby Lewis, who was most enjoyable and really could belt out a tune. Allie Schulz was sassy, brassy, and bawdy as Rizzo. Eric Schneider, who also played Frankie Valli in the touring production of Jersey Boys, was grand as Danny. David Ruffin was marvelous as Kenicke, even if he's stolen the name of the great Temptation, who has been dead for almost 20 years now. All of the Pink Ladies were great, too.

They went so far as to make references to the "Idolator" show during Grease. As Hicks, who played the Teen Angel, sang "Beauty School Dropout" to Frenchy, she noted that "I voted for you." Ugh. Get back into the giant soft-serve cone and go back to that malt shop in the sky.

In the end, Hicks got to do one of his own songs after the show, got the biggest cheer, and got to sell CDs in the lobby. Too bad. He was the weakest link in Grease. My friend Lisa over at Dancing Again got to interview Hicks the other day and found him very nice. I don't doubt it. But the rest of the cast of Grease were better. We weren't expecting big, brainy stuff from the kids at Rydell High. But we can at least try to value talent over celebrity.


Anonymous said...

Really...you should be very happy Hicks is in this production or it would have gone the way of all the other great Broadway productions CANCELLED and none of these actors would be working at the moment. I saw the Broadway production in NY and the road production Hicks is the STAR and the most power voice on that stage. Thats my opinion, wouldn't want people to miss seeing Taylor Hicks live just by reading one side of the story.

Weisenheimer said...

Thanks for dropping by, Taylor!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the anonymous blog above...100%. Six out of ten people who went to see the show in SF went to see Taylor Hicks...so I'm told by people with inside info. I went twice. The show was terrific and Taylor was fantastic, as he always is in any of his live performances.

Lisa said...

Thanks for the shout out in your blog! I admire Taylor Hicks' agent for having the balls to ask to let his client pimp his new song after the play. Inappropriate as it may be, it's a genius move from a management standpoint.