In the summer of 1980, I watched the classic musical Grease. From that point on, I was a different girl. My heart belonged to John Travolta, I wore a shiny, satin pink jacket and asked my parents to call me “Olivia” (as in Olivia Newton-John). Like so many girls, that ’50s tale inspired me. The love story was sweet (yet predictable), the characters likable (although mostly stereotypes), the dialogue comedic (perhaps questionable given the PG audience). But those dance and song numbers were golden — playful and memorable, a perfect concoction of wham-bam-boom, sentimentality, quick footwork and exaggerated hips. Arguably, that is what kept people watching for over thirty years.
On Friday night, at TIFF‘s Bell Lightbox in Toronto, there was a kind of homecoming for Grease fans with the Sing-A-Long-A Grease event. The evening included a screening, vocal warm-up with host Shawn Hitchins, quick review of the hand-jive and explanation of the props inside the loot bags given to audience members. I found the warm-up lengthy (but Hitchins was amusing), and the loot bags seemed like an after-thought. Luckily, these two misses didn’t take away from the fun.
The audience was a collective of mostly women (and only a handful of men) — Frenchie look-a-likes, Danny Zuko in drag, our heroine Sandra Dee and countless pencil and poodle skirts, biker jackets and curly coifs. It was the ideal girl’s night out. Mothers brought their mothers, along with their pre-teen daughters (who happened to tell me that this would be their very first screening of the film), university girls brought their roommates and professionals from Bay Street zipped over after work. Part movie night, karaoke with friends and dance club, Sing-A-Long-A Grease is a must see. Go (and wear a costume, there are a few prizes to be won).
February 24-26, 2012 / Friday, Saturday and Sunday @ 7pm • Saturday @ 2pm
Tickets can be purchased in person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox box office, online at http://tiff.net/gettickets or by phone at 416.599.TIFF (8433)