MOVIE REVIEW: Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s “Grease” movie sing along is fun, unique event



From Thursday, Feb. 18 to Saturday, Feb. 20, the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre (Civic) ran their “Grease” movie sing along event. Packed with fun opportunities to dance, sing, win prizes and more, this event was a great way to add to Civic’s mainstage productions, which feature only live theater performances.

Upon entering, the first thing I noticed were the lobby decorations. The lobby had been decorated for a Rydell (the high school in “Grease”) prom theme, featuring banners and signs in Rydell’s colors, red and white, that featured quotes from the movie and generic “Rydell pride” decorations. There was also a jukebox in the corner, a photo area with a colorful backdrop and ‘50s themed photo props, and a long table set up with coloring sheets for the coloring contest, trivia sheets for the trivia contest and goodie bags filled with items for the interactive portions for the show. In addition, all the volunteers were dressed up in ‘50s attire, adding to the retro feel of the place. The decorations really helped put the audience in the mood for “Grease,” but since Civic’s lobby is just so large, the decorations felt a bit sparse, like they weren’t planned quite as carefully as they could have been. Nevertheless, they were certainly a good idea and did help get the audience ready for the show.

The event portion, which took place in the theatre, was hosted by Brent Marty, director of music and education at Civic. Marty did a great job keeping the energy up throughout the event, even though he had to cover a lot of instructions for the event that could have been much duller if he hadn’t hyped them up. He managed to cover the costume contest, hand jive lessons and instructions thoroughly but quickly, however, the audience was still starting to get antsy toward the end of the instructions despite his efforts. Still, I certainly thought he did the best job that was possible, considering he had to try to keep the audience entertained while giving directions.

The interactive movie bits were really what made this event great. There were props to be used at different parts of the movie (for example, blue balloons to be waved during the song “Blue Moon”), subtitles during the songs for the audience to sing along, iconic lines that the audience could say along with the movie and of course, dancing along during the hand jive scene. These little bits of interaction throughout the movie were what really made this event come to life and differentiated it from just watching something at a movie theater. It really created a unique and more personal way to experience the iconic movie.

Overall, Civic’s “Grease” movie sing along was a very fun, upbeat event that was very different from anything Civic has done in the past, and I commend them for branching out and trying something new.