“Grease” is the Word at Toby’s Dinner Theatre
April 18, 2023 @ 12:00pm
The beloved musical “Grease” is back in D.C., playing at Toby’s Dinner Theatre through June 11.
In 1972, the musical “Grease” opened on Broadway. By the time the curtain closed for the last time in 1980, it was the longest-running show in history. It also resulted in one of the biggest and most popular movies of all time, with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John making T-Bird Danny Zuko and his naïve girl-next-door summer fling Sandy a love connection worth rooting for — and singing about.
Grease is the word once again at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Maryland, which is mounting the beloved musical in the round through June 11.
With book, music and lyrics by the team of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, the show features an unforgettable score, with tunes such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “You’re the One That I Want” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
Director Mark Minnick is working with many Toby fan-favorites on the musical, including Patrick Gover as Danny, Cassie Saunders as Sandy and Alicia Osborn as Rizzo — her third production at the popular dinner theatre.
Osborn, who grew up 30 minutes from Toby’s, has performed all over the U.S., working on national tours, regional productions and cruise lines, but the chance to work close to home was something she couldn’t pass up. To be in a show that’s treasured by so many was also a major plus.
“I remember seeing the movie growing up and the funny cartoon beginning, and I had never seen a live-action movie start off the credits that way, where you are sort of introduced to everyone through these caricatures,” she says. “When you go to weddings or parties, you always hear some of these songs — they are such earworms and fun to sing in social settings. Everyone knows at least one song from ‘Grease.’”
She enjoys playing Rizzo because the character is deeply layered — strong, tough and sex positive.
“Rizzo isn’t afraid to be who she is,” Osborn says. “She didn’t have it nice growing up; she’s kind of gritty and fights for her way to be the alpha of the group.”
The rest of the cast is rounded out by a group of local young actors from the DMV, some of whom are doing their first professional production.
“We have these young, eager, fantastic performers, many just out of college after studying theatre, and they’re all triple threats,” Osborn says. “They are excited to come to work every day and that’s really refreshing. Everyone has such a unique take on their character that it feels fresh and new.”
Of course, it still pays homage to the movie and all the key elements are included, but the stage version offers some things that are different — especially being done in the round.
“This is a show for all ages and we see people humming along or doing the hand jive in their seats, and I absolutely love it,” Osborn says. “People come in costumes, wearing leather jackets or poodle skirts, and it’s been such a blast.”
Toby’s is also offering a special drink, The Pink Lady, delivered in a commemorative glass for patrons to take home to keep people in the spirit long after the show ends.
Toby’s Dinner Theatre: 5900 Symphony Woods Rd. Columbia, MD; tobysdinnertheatre.com // @tobys_dinnertheatre
Want first access to select shows and performances around the city? Join the District Fray community to access free and discounted tickets. Become a member and support local journalism today.