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Toby’s Dinner Theatre Grease

By • Jul 30th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Grease
Toby’s Dinner Theatre
Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Baltimore, MD
Through September 16th
4 Hours with dinner and intermission
$51-$56/$37 Children
Reviewed July 22nd, 2012

Grease is definitely the word at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. The production is a stand-out, it’s simple, extremely well done, but simple, and that’s what makes it work. With minimalistic sets, creative set pieces, a fun and fresh staging, great and period appropriate costumes, delightful and inventive choreography, gorgeous vocal performances, and spot on acting, the nostalgic classic is reborn.

The young to middle-aged cast are as professional as they get, and though each and every member is an amazing stand-out in their own way, the star of this production most definitely by-far is Tim Rogan (Danny). Rogan is a true triple threat, his Zuko is so fresh, likeable, and as my 16-year-old daughter insisted, HOTT! that he truly reinvented the role. Rogan never misses a beat, connects with everyone and everything around him, is full-forced on every number, and effortlessly brings down the house on his rendition of “Alone at a Drive-In-Movie.” Laura Zinn (Sandy) is equally and amazingly talented, keeping Sandy sweet, innocent, sincere, but true to herself. With beautiful vocal performances and skillful comic moments, her Sandy is unforgettable. Peter N. Crews (Kenicke) is appropriately crude and sarcastic. “Greased Lightning” was one of the highlights of the show. Celia Blitzer (Jan) and Britt Lewis (Roger) have amazing chemistry between each other, both define their individual roles to a tee, and slay the house with their rendition of “Mooning.” Shayla Simmons (Marty) is quirky in the best possible way and makes her Marty endearing and elegant. Chris Rudy (Doody) is sweet and dorky, a beautiful tenor, and makes “Those Magic Changes” another highlight of the production. Matt Greenfield (Sonny) gives a very energetic and fun “stoner-like” performance. Emily Lentz (Frenchy) making her Toby d├ębut makes a top-notch mark into the cornucopia of Toby’s veteran performers. She beautifully delivers a sweet but slightly ditzy high school drop-out/beauty school wannabe teenager. David Bosley-Reynolds (Vince Fontaine) is as seasoned as they come. Taking on a small role, he makes every moment and beat count. Kelli Blackwell (Mrs. Lynch/ Teen Angel) delivers two completely different and well thought-out performances and makes their gospel rendition of “Beauty School Dropout” brand spanking new and unforgettable. It’s very clear to see that Tina Marie DeSimone (Director/Choreographer/Rizzo) adores and understands Grease with her entire body, mind, and soul. With a touching and passionate rendition of “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” and an all-around spectacular production, it’s understandable why DeSimone is a staple at Toby’s.

As always, the staff at Toby’s is top-notch, welcoming, and professional. The buffet was quite delicious and plentiful. So whether Grease is an old memory you’d like to reminisce with one more time or it’s something you’ve always heard about but have never seen, go to Toby’s in Baltimore and enjoy what’s left of these “Summer Nights.”

Production Staff

  • Director/Choreographer: Tina Marie DeSimone
  • Music Director: Douglas Lawler
  • Lighting and Scenic Designer: David A. Hopkins
  • Costume Designer: Samn Huffer and Janine Sunday
  • Sound Designer: Corey Brown
  • Production Manager: Vickie S. Johnson
  • Production Stage Manager: Heather Williams
  • Master Carpenter: David A. Hopkins
  • Set Construction: David A. Hopkins, Corey Brown, Russell Sunday
  • Properties: Amy Kaplan
  • Stage Manager: Heather Williams
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Ian Wallace
  • Light Board Operators: Heather Williams, Jeanie McAlpine
  • Sound Operator: Corey Brown, Melvina Coker
  • Crew: Ian Wallace, Matt Wetzel, Molly Hopkins

Theatre Staff

  • Artistic Director: Toby Orenstein
  • Associate Artistic Directors: David A. Hopkins, Lawrence B. Munsey
  • General Manager: Sean Rogan
  • Group Hostess: Anita Berkley
  • Group Seaters: Dora McGlone, Gabrielle Sotirakos, Kristy Willis
  • Box Office Manager: Tere Fulmer
  • Director of Audience Development: Tere Fulmer
  • Box Office Staff: Kathleen Darchicourt, Donesha Holmes, Joanne McMillan
  • Candace Miller, Edward Spriggs-Jackson, Lynn Sturm, Marie Tintsman
  • Best Western Sales: Linda Aires, Janet Campbell, Felicia Canter
  • Director of Marketing: Nancy Michel
  • Assistant Director of Marketing: Daniel L. McDonald
  • Bookkeepers: Beverly Ailiff, Bayna Castner
  • Executive Chef: Mark Brown
  • Director of Food & Beverage: Theresa Ash
  • Bar Manager: David James
  • Photography: Kristine Christiansen
  • Bus Crew: Dave Chavies, Scean Flowers, Brandon Hendrickson, Tim Miller, Edward Spriggs-Jackson, Jason Sowers

The Cast

  • (In order of Appearance)
  • Miss Lynch: Kelli Blackwell
  • Patty Simcox: Amanda Kaplan
  • Eugene Florczyk: Mikey Caferelli
  • Jan: Celia Blitzer
  • Marty: Shayla Simmons
  • Betty Rizzo: Tina Marie DeSimone
  • Doody: Chris Rudy
  • Roger: Britt Lewis
  • Kenickie: Peter N. Crews
  • Sonny LaTierri: Matthew Greenfeild
  • Frenchy: Emily Lentz
  • Sandy Dumbrowski: Lara Zinn
  • Danny Zuko: Tim Rogan
  • Vince Fontaine: David Bosley-Reynolds
  • Johnny Casino: Scean Flowers
  • Cha-Cha DiGregorio: Ashley Johnson
  • Teen Angel: Kelly Blackwell
  • Rydell Students: Ian Brown-Gorrell, Amy Caveness,
  • David Little, Vicky Mahoney
  • Understudies: Sandy (Amy Caveness), Danny (Britt Lewis), Rizzo (Shayla Simmons), Kenickie (Matthew Greenfield), Marty/Jan/Cha-Cha/Miss Lynch (Vicky Mahoney), Roger/Sonny/Doody/ (Ian Brown-Gorrell), Frenchy (Amanda Kaplan), Eugene (Matt Wetzel), Patty (Tegan Williams), Johnny Casino (David Little), Teen Angel (Shayla Maddox)
  • Swings: Matt Wetzel & Tegan Williams

Orchestra

  • Piano/Conductor: Douglas Lawler or Ann Prizzi
  • Drums: Tarek Mohamed or Jack Loercher
  • Bass: Michael Kellam or Jason Wilson
  • Guitar: Soren Mattson or Jason Wise
  • Tenor Sax: Stacey Antoinne or Brian Butler

Disclaimer: Toby’s Dinner Theater provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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worked for twenty years as a professional actor and director, as well as worked a myriad of other theatrical production roles at various levels. In recent years, he served as Artistic Director/President of STROyKA Theatre in Washington, DC. Roman privately teaches acting, voice, and piano and serves as a consultant to various groups and schools. His primary role is stay-at-home dad and full-time college student. He also directs the Voices Unlimited Youth Choir at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD.

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