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Poodle skirts and leather jackets on tap as 'Grease' hits Eight O'Clock Theatre

Anna Marquez signs during dress rehearsal of Grease at the Largo Cultural Center. It is the third time Eight O’Clock Theatre has partnered with USF students to sign during a live show.
Anna Marquez signs during dress rehearsal of Grease at the Largo Cultural Center. It is the third time Eight O’Clock Theatre has partnered with USF students to sign during a live show.
Published May 1, 2014

LARGO

Fans who are hopelessly devoted to the musical Grease should hop into their sin wagons and head to Largo's Eight O'Clock Theatre where the high-octane production — two hours of '50s-style song and dance — premieres at 8 tonight. The show runs through May 11.

"This is the first time we've done Grease," director James Grenelle said. "It's a show people love and want. It's fun; it's energetic; it's all over the place."

An orchestra, framed by a humongous onstage jukebox, will transport the audience back to a sweet, but not-all-that-innocent time with memorable favorites like Summer Nights; Freddy, My Love; Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee; and Beauty School Dropout.

The classic hit Greased Lightning strikes gold with the help of an authentic, but quite rusty, Packard.

Though the 1972 version by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey didn't contain the songs You're the One That I Want, Sandy and Hopelessly Devoted to You (all made popular in the film version), Grenelle obtained permission to include them.

The musical does have a cultlike following, according to Grenelle, so don't be shocked if someone stands up and lets out a "wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!"

"I wouldn't be at all surprised if audience members come dressed in leather jackets and poodle skirts — hopefully not at the same time," he said.

A performance for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, signed by University of South Florida interns, is slated for Wednesday.

There will be designated seating as six interpreters, seated on the sidelines, take on a variety of roles.

It's the third time Eight O'Clock Theatre has partnered with the USF students in such an endeavor, providing deaf persons an opportunity to enjoy the show while giving the interns some experience.

For those who may not be familiar with the good girl meets bad boy story, let us tell you 'bout it, stud.

The Rydell High's senior class of '59 is a rowdy bunch of hand-jiving, hot-rod racing cool cats and their girls. Among them, the gum-chewing Pink Ladies and tough-talkin' Burger Palace Boys, led by head-greaser Danny Zuko. Over the summer Danny meets, and falls for, the wholesome Sandy Dumbrowski but he's not about to admit it to his gang. The pair spend the school year navigating the complexities of teen love.

The role of Danny is played by Kyle Hill, 29, of St. Petersburg.

"Unlike Danny, I wasn't the cool guy at school," he said. "I was the shy kid who read books in the library during lunch. Most of the roles I play are dorky, nerdy or underdog-ish, so this is a stretch, but it's fun being cool and part of the inner circle."

Mallory Quinn, 24 of Tampa, is a dark-haired Sandy who said she was a "good girl" in high school.

"Not anymore," she said, grinning.

She said her biggest challenge is wearing 4-inch spiked heels and dancing on a picnic table while singing You're the One That I Want.

That, and losing a few pounds.

"I have to wear black Spandex," she said.

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