In this production, a talented cast ebbs and flows through the brief (two hours including intermission) show, with some scenes showing warmth and energy and others landing with a thud. The cast is over-amplified by head mikes, yet in many solo numbers the lead singers pick up large, cordless hand microphones which seem out of place and ineffective. Worth seeing are a few standout supporting players who bring out the heart and verve of this show. It would have been beneficial to shrink the stage a big with a different set design as even the group numbers seem lost on the expanse of the Benedum stage.
Saving the evening are a few fine performances and gem scenes. In the lead roles of squeaky clean Sandy Dumbrowski and bad boy Danny, who meet over the summer and battle each other's "cool factor" to get back together once in school at Rydell High, Amanda Watkins and Ryan Silverman are well cast. Good looking, with solid voices, they have little to do with the blandly written characters until the end of the show, but they deliver when called upon. Ellen Harvey does a nice job with the comedic role of Miss Lynch, the teacher who scares even the tough guys. Amanda Serkasevich plays Grease's hussy, Rizzo, with more substance than is often the case and she nails a showstopping "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" in the second act.
The most refreshing performances, however, are delivered by Tyler Maynard as Doody and Alisa Klein as Frenchy. The stage lights up when either of these two is in the spotlight. Maynard is completely charming in "Those Magic Changes" (with no hand mike) and he and Curtis Holbrook (another standout) as Roger make "Rock 'n' Roll Party Queen" a highlight. Adrian Zmed does a fine job with the showy role of Teen Angel.
Barry Ivan's choreography is disappointing and not performed well by the ensemble, but the "Hand Jive" number is lively and works well - if only the rest of the show were up to that level.
Grease runs through July 2 at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. Visit www.pittsburghclo.org/ for ticket and performance information.