Five young men in blue jeans and black leather jackets sit, stand, and sprawl on top of a 1950s beater automobile.
Grease at Drury Lane Theatre Credit: Brett Beiner Photography

There have been many versions of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s Grease: the raunchy one that premiered at Kingston Mines in 1971; a much cleaned-up version that opened a year later in New York; the star-heavy 1978 movie (which, among other abominations, takes a Chicago girl named Dumbrowski and gives her an Aussie accent). And now we have the Drury Lane version, choreographed and directed by Paul Stancato.

Through 6/4: Wed 1:30 PM, Thu 1:30 and 7 PM, Fri 7 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 2 and 6 PM, Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, 630-530-0111,, $85-$95

This version, like most revivals these days, is an amalgam of the Broadway and movie versions, adding songs from the movie, including Barry Gibbs’s rousing but idiotic anthem (“Grease is the way we are feeling”). But unlike many revivals, Stancato’s production takes the show seriously, staying true to its original roots as reflected in a set that includes a cityscape of Chicago circa 1959. The show is, at its heart, a character-driven ensemble comedy, with two teen couples in the foreground (Danny and Sandy, and Kenickie and Rizzo), and a cast of comic supporting characters, each of whom eventually gets her or his turn in the spotlight. (In the movie, Danny and Sandy’s romance dominates.)

Stancato has filled his cast with talented performers who are equally adept at singing, dancing, and playing compelling, believable characters who also know how to mine laughs from the show’s many wisecracks. Emily Schultheis does a star turn as a very un–Olivia Newton-John-ish Sandy Dumbrowski. And Anna Louise Bramlett deserves special praise for finding the depth in often-overlooked Marty.