On Tuesday, I went to the dinner theater down the road from work. They were showing Grease. I figured a quality meal and good service could outweigh the torture of this show, but alas, I was wrong. I just do NOT see the enthrallment with this musical. It's bad. Bad bad bad. The movie is okay. If you've just seen the movie then stick to it. But the stage show doesn't have: - The good songs that are in the movie. - A plot. - Conflict. - Character development. - A climax. - A resolution. They have a brief pregnancy scare that lasts about 3 seconds, that is magically resolved and certain to reaffirm premarital sex to everyone that watches. More importantly, the basic message of the show is something along the lines of this: "I'm knocked up." "That's a shame. Good luck." "Eat a dick, Sandra D, at least I'm not a cock tease." "Oh, God, you're so cool. Let me be just like you and your Pink Lady friends: pregnant, socially driven, and completely vacuous." Musical number ensues that ensures that these two chicks who have nothing in common and both consider themselves better than the other can suddenly be best friends...and all things, like on daytime TV, are resolved with a makeover. More importantly, now that Sandra is putting out for Danny, the world can accept her. Eat your heart out, John Travolta; the Lesbian Avengers now make COMPLETE sense to me. The funny thing about dinner theater is that there are only two types of people in the audience: really old people, and really young people that the really old people dragged along. There are countless kids that are being "treated" to a show full of shitty stereotypes by their grandparents. Here, little Jenny; be sure to aspire to be just like the protagonists of this little musical! Okay, honestly, I could care less about the moral themes of Grease. At least, of all the popular artforms that get a bad rap for content, can I REALLY blame this show? Maybe, MAYBE someone is out there bustin' a cap in some chump suckah after listing to Dr. Dre, and maybe someone is out there sawing on his wrists after listening to Nine Inch Nails. Hell, maybe even some twelve year old is getting a boob-job after watching Britney Spears's videos. But I doubt anyone is getting pregnant and blaming Grease. Maybe it's just distribution channels. I don't know. As for the old folks, I think these people come to dinner theater because they expect this theater to be "easy," but theater never is. Rather, it never SHOULD be. Generally, drama is considered challenging to the actors, but no one ever considers the audience's role. Real theater forces the performers and the audience into a sort of dance, and the steps are complex. Theater isn't meant to be comfortable. Not even comedy (ESPECIALLY not comedy!) should really leave the viewer unaffected. Everyone thinks that catharsis is something reserved for tragedies, but it's not. You don't need to see Antigone or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf to have your guts ripped out and mangled in front of your face. Did I say "guts?" I meant "perspective." When you aren't treated to this, then you've pissed away your night; you've been robbed of The Experience. Sure, it's dinner theater, and you aren't going to see "Shopping and Fucking" there. But why do we insist on wasting an attentive audience's time and thoughts on drivel? Rizzo gets knocked up? That was quaint. Chino shoots Tony? The dancing was wonderful! Don Quixote falls to the Mirror Knight? That was almost as much fun as South Pacific last time! We could give a fuck less, and that's not because we stopped for ice cream at intermission. Even fluffy shows can challenge you. In all things performance, if you aren't challenged, then you essentially got your pocket picked for the price of admission. Keep it in mind. --ryan.