Those Summer Nights

Say what you will about John Travolta — and we have, many times — the man is a walking miracle of career longevity. He’s successfully (re)invented himself a half-dozen times, all the while preserving his undeniable talents as a hoofer and a comic foil. Frankly, it’s a shock to realize that the second-biggest box-office star in the world in 1978 — on the strength of back-to-back blockbusters Saturday Night Fever and Grease — remains an A-list actor with upcoming dramatic roles in an Oliver Stone movie (Savages) and opposite Robert De Niro (Killing Season). We have a soft spot for the young Travolta, full of brio and testosterone and plainly reveling in parlaying his no-frills New Jersey upbringing into neon stardom. (Welcome Back, Kotter, anyone?) He powers the young-love story of Grease with ease, while Olivia Newton-John does her mannequin best as his clean-scrubbed Aussie object of desire. From a contemporary standpoint, this adaptation of the 1971 stage musical satisfies our urges for post-1960s nostalgia for an imaginary 1950s. Don’t think too hard about it; just belt out the words at tonight's Grease Sing-A-Long — and keep your eyes on John T.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: June 29. Continues through July 5, 2012

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