Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
If you haven't yet seen "Grease," now in its seventh year, you could do worse than go to the National Theater for still another return of this musical spoof of the '50s. And then you also could do better.
It all depends on how much nostalgia you can muster for th subculture of the '50s with the greasers, duck tails, leather jackets and the cool look. It's all there on the National stage - frenzied vitality, bawdiness, deliberate vulgarity, early rock 'n' roll gyrations, the punk antics and humor, and gross loudness.
From its beginnings as an underground sensation in Chicago in 1971, "Grease" moved on to New York the next year and now is the longest running show on Broadway . . . For some strange reason, its admires proudly claim responsibility for spawning such '50s-nostalgia spinoff as the television show "Happy Days" and the Fonz craze.
The cast of 15 in the present company at the National expends large amounts of both energy and talent. They have such fun doing it that it becomes infectious. "Grease" may be mindless, plotless and half-hysterical with forgettable songs, but it is a good-spirited evocation of the '50s' cool-punk subculture. The principles are just fine, with Frank Piegaro as the hair-slicking hero, and Shannon Fanning as the winsome heroine who has transferred from a parochial school because the head sister had protested that her patent leather shoes relflected what was under her dress. Jacalyn Switzer is a forceful Rizzo.
The choreography and musical staging of Patricia Birth still are among the delights or "Grease," ably supported by Douglas Schmidt's secenery, and Carrie Robbins' costuming.
It does help to know that to be called Sandra Dee or Pat Boone was not a compliment back in those days and that "mooning" was pronounced with several drawn-out syllables and wasn't a romamtic rhyme with June in those days before streaking became a college fad.
"Grease" will be at the National Theater for two weeks, Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with Saturday and Sunday matinees.