Still the Word

Frankie Avalon comes to Houston to chastise a beauty-school dropout, once again

Slick hair, slick engines and slick attitudes -- the 30-year-old Broadway hit Grease has got them all by the tube-full. This souped-up show is roaring into town courtesy of Theater Under the Stars, which has brought back '50s pop star Frankie Avalon as Teen Angel, the same character he played in the 1978 movie based on the musical. Once again, he'll be strapping on wings and insulting Frenchy's dye job.

Grease tells the story of a good girl who meets a bad boy and learns what true teen love is all about (teased-up hair and cha-cha heels, if we remember correctly). The film version featured a very hunky John Travolta as Danny, and a sweet-faced Olivia Newton-John as Sandy. Unlike Avalon, both Travolta and Newton-John apparently have better things to do than reprise their ancient film roles. Instead, youthful newcomers Jamey Isenor and Hanna-Liina Vosa will be cruising through songs like "Summer Nights" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You," a song that was written for the film but has been worked into the new stage version.

Vosa, who is from Estonia, has been in the States only a few years. Appropriately enough, she got hooked up with Grease in a fantasy-come-true kind of way. She went to an open call in New York City, sang her 16 bars and was chosen from more than 500 other girls to play Sandy.

Looking slick, Frankie.
Looking slick, Frankie.
Courtesy of TUTS

Details

opens at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14, and runs through Sunday, November 2. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays; for information, call 713-558-8887 or visit www.tu ts.com. $25 to $68.
Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby

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Sounding very girlish and Sandy-like over the phone, she oohs and aahs over Frankie Avalon, saying he's "amazing" and "one of the friendliest guys" she knows. She's also thrilled about the post-show revue of '50s hits -- the only time she gets to sing with Avalon.

Music is, after all, what Grease is all about. But please, leave the singing to the professionals. You can belt out "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" in the car on the way home.

 
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