Beginning tonight, audiences at American Theater Company's The Original Grease will be seeing a slightly shorter show with a clearly slimmer cast than the one that opened earlier this month. (Here's Tony Adler's review.) Artistic director PJ Paparelli says ten to twelve minutes have been cut from the running time, along with five cast members, all of them among the elders whose 50th class reunion is the frame for this restored and updated version of the 1971 hit.
Coincidentally, their real life counterparts, Taft High School alumni who were the inspiration for authors Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, will be in the audience when the changes are locked in this weekend. "Jim has received so much interest from people wanting to produce this version," including commercial producers here and in New York, Paparelli says, "we thought this was the time to tighten it up." He also says the show's doing so well he's looking for ways to extend it at ATC, perhaps by moving the company's next production, The Amish Project — slated to open in September — to another location.