The Off Broadway Theatre is showing their newest production, Greece is the Word. And while mixing ancient Greece with the musical Grease might sound like the cheesiest, worst idea possible, somehow it works out… really well.
Greece is the Word is one of the funniest plays we’ve seen at the theater. Since it is so new, the jokes are current and the writing seems to leave space for improv, which arguably, is what this theater does best.
If you’re having a bad day, see this.
Directed by Eric Armstrong and written by Eric Jensen, the story follows Dino (R. Jacob Miskimins) and Sandrea (Sunny Simkins) who have a fling over the summer and meet again at Murray High School (home of the Spartans and David Archuleta memorial). Dino and his Grecian greaser buddies are challenged to a chariot drag race by a gang of Romans, meanwhile the Grecian gods are looking for ways to interfere in their lives.
The show’s songs don’t deviate too far from the those in Grease, so any fan of the movie will recognize the parodies. But it’s Clarissa Armstrong’s choreography that really makes the songs funny or just the natural body language of the actors. Jokes without words, as playwright Eric Jensen would say. Sunny Simkins, who is also musical director for this production, has a beautiful voice, which is also displayed. Wardrobe for the production is another highlight. It really does feel like a parallel universe, where somehow leather jackets and togas don’t clash. And when they do, it creates a comic effect that only enhances the show.
Watch for these scenes: Zeus (Eric Jensen) teaching the gym class, the Trojan horse becoming the perfect prop for jokes, the hilarious chariot race and even an extremely-cheesy ending based on the source material.
The show’s only fault is some very new actors, but it’s evened out by OBT veterans like Jensen, Monte Garcia and Clarence Strohn.
The Off Broadway Theatre is located at 272 S. Main Street, SLC. The show runs through June 16.
Click here for tickets.