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Friday, June 2, 2023

‘Grease’ Rocks and Rolls into Alajuela

“Grease,” the 1970s Broadway musical that brings back the era of ’50s rock and roll, ducktail haircuts, drive-ins and the big questions, “Did you get very far?” and “Does he have a car?” will have a month’s run at the Alajuela College Prep School (CUNA) auditorium in Alajuela, northwest of San José.

This lively story with foot stomping, leaps, jumps, pelvis-shaking action and rockin’ music tells the story of high school kids in a working-class, ethnic neighborhood in Chicago who are just getting acquainted with cars, sexual attraction and the adult world. Sandy is new at school, and Danny falls for her. But it is an on-and-off romance. Sandy doesn’t know where she stands. Meanwhile, Danny talks it up with his greaser friends and Sandy tells all to her girlfriends, the Pink Ladies. In the end, they pledge eternal love.

Fifty students in the theater, film and television program at CUNA dress up as their grandparents once did and put on a superb rendition under the guidance and direction of Marco Araya, founder and director of Carpe Diem Theater. While the small amount of dialog is in Spanish, the songs are from the soundtrack, lip-synched in English, but it’s not at all noticeable. They’re all well coordinated, and with eyes focused on the action, costumes and scenery, who’s going to notice that the kids aren’t really belting out those favorite songs such as “Summer Nights” and “Blue Moon.” You can thoroughly enjoy this show without knowing Spanish.

Mario González, 23, plays Danny Zuko with Elvis-style hair, tight jeans, leather jacket and lots of gusto. Mariana Molina, 18, is Sandy Dumbrowski, young, in love and full of pep. But it’s the whole cast that makes this show remarkable. They don’t miss a beat. While the story itself doesn’t tell much beyond the usual teen troubles of any generation, it’s the motion and the memories (for those of us who remember those years) that make this show worth seeing.

CUNA is a comfortable place to take in a show, and there’s ample, secure parking next to the theater building. The show will open with a Mother’s Day special performance Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. and will continue with shows at 7 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3:30 and 6 p.m. on Sundays, through Sept. 14. Tickets cost ¢1,500 ($2.70) and are sold at the Arauka Boutique, across from the Juan Santamaría plaza in town, at Librería Azul, across from the CUNA campus, and at the theater ticket office. Or call 2442-7773 for reservations.

CUNA is one block from Calle Ancha, the main street around Alajuela, on the street just west of the Harpe store, the angled street two blocks west of the intersection going to Mall Internacional and JuanSantamaríaInternationalAirport.



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