We gave it a C-
Grease could take a cue from Hairspray, its closest relative in follicular fun: Each of Hairspray‘s three major iterations, including this summer’s film, is inventive enough to stand on its own. But this amateurish revival brings nothing new to the lunch table, save for a few tunes from the 1978 movie and two leads who won the roles via a 21st-century gimmick: a nationwide casting call on the NBC reality series Grease: You’re the One That I Want. It replaces innovation with a lazy reliance on nostalgia; the show just lays there, limp as wet hair, a bland rehash of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s ode to high school hallway antics in the pre-Beatles era.
Memorable one-liners are blithely tossed aside and songs rarely rise above karaoke level. ”Greased Lightning” and ”Beauty School Dropout” are charming, but the company is still at the mercy of Kathleen Marshall’s claustrophobic direction. And what of Max Crumm and Laura Osnes, the Danny and Sandy whose ”journeys” inspired supposed millions of viewers to usher them to insta-fame? Osnes’ trilling soprano is more suited to, say, The Little Mermaid. The affable Crumm puts a goofy spin on rebel Danny, but he never quite connects. Like everything else in this fusty time warp of a show, he’s been shellacked into submission. (Tickets: 212-307-4100) C-