Max Crumm and Laura Osnes beat out thousands of other aspiring hopefuls to become the latest Danny and Sandy in the 2007 Broadway revival of "GREASE" in the audience vote in show "GREASE: YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT." I watched the show religiously. Now the resulting CD proves that America got it right! Crumm was a particularly dark-horse candidate; helpfully told to cut his long hair to a 1950's cut to increase his chances of winning. Crumm knows how to connect with his audience and get inside the songs he sings. He acts while he sings; bringing out a playfulness and vulnerability in Danny. Osnes was playing Sandy in community theatre when she decided to give Broadway a try. She is perfectly cast; giving an especially emotional rendering of "Hopelessly Devoted To You." America also deserves credit for choosing talented performers who are not carbon-copy duplicates of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the 1978 film version.
Crumm and Osnes headline a cast of virtual unknowns; including Ryan Patrick Binder, Lindsay Mendez, Jeb Brown, and Stephen Buntrock. Jenny Powers is particularly strong as Rizzo; a great singer who brings out the vulnerability in this supposedly "Bad Girl." Christopher Jahnke's orchestrations are very good, almost excellent; if a bit too fast at times. "Greased Lightening", which gets some sanitized lyrics here, seems particularly rushed. The cast, however, gives Barry Gibb's title song from the 1978 film version a strong and deep interpretation.
A reviewer for "Entertainment Weekly" magazine suggested there is nothing new at Rydell High School in director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall's 2007 Revival. But the cast has enough energy and vitality to carry you along. That energy/enthusiasm is evidenced in the video of the recording session on Amazon. The fun video on Amazon, by the way, convinced me to buy the CD. Of course, you may still wonder: Does the world need yet ANOTHER production/recording of "GREASE?" After all, the last Broadway revival was still very recent, in 1994, featuring Sam Harris, Susan Wood, and (ugh!) Rosie O'Donnell. It seems that every decade or so, there is a NEW production of GREASE. Is there a high school, college, or community theatre that HAS NOT done this show?! I saw it in Seattle, with Erik Estrada no less(!) and most recently, a 2005 touring company. I had a fun, wonderful time. No, the world does not need another production of "GREASE", but it's fun, and if you're a fan of this show; whether it be the 1972 Original Broadway Cast, 1978 film version, 1994 Revival, or one of the other countless productions, you'll still want to pick up this 2007 Recording. Each version has its own strengths and weaknesses. Crumm, Osnes, and the exuberant, youthful cast aim to entertain, and they succeed. As an added bonus, the complete lyrics are included inside the CD booklet.