Theater Review Blog
by Pim van Amerongen, March 2021
Harmony of the Seas
For years, Royal Caribbean Cruises has been putting out ships with high quality entertainment, and they are always looking to get better. I went on many family cruises as a kid, and I was always in awe of RCI’s Vegas and Broadway style shows onboard. The singers, dancers, flashy costumes, and cool sets always put a smile on my face, and fueled my passion to become a professional performer. As the owner of a cruise entertainment trio, I have followed the industry very closely. Now whenever I sail with Royal Caribbean, I make a point to see every show onboard. Sadly, my last cruise ship vacation was a while ago, but I vividly remember one show from that trip. And what a better time to start a review column, than during coronavirus? So, without further ado, here is my review for the production of GREASE onboard the Harmony Of The Seas in June 2017.
Everyone knows the story of GREASE. Danny meets Sandy, they fall in love, Danny betrays Sandy because he’s macho, Sandy changes herself to fulfill his needs, Danny and Sandy live happily ever after. But we cannot forget what makes this show so fun. Lets be honest, it isn’t Danny or Sandy, its the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds. In order to make this a successful musical, it needs to have the funny and twisted backbone of a talented supporting cast. The music is already a home run, and the script is very solid, so as long as you have the right team to execute the rest, you’re golden.
When I saw Grease on Harmony of the Seas, I expected a few things. A slightly shorter version of the show, really great production value, and a great group of dancers. I have never seen a show onboard an RCI ship without these three things. I must say, I have seen a few bad singers or actors along the way, but the shows usually tick those three boxes. To my pleasant surprise, this cast had amazing singers, actors, and dancers. They had it all!
As soon as the show started, I knew I was going to enjoy myself. The choreography was exciting and fun, the dancers were wonderful, the singers were awesome, and I was happy with how they had seamlessly trimmed the script down. I never missed any important plot points or fun jokes. The casting for the show was well done, too. The girl playing Sandy (Emily Griffiths) was a perfect fit for the role, and the audience loved her rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted To You”. Joe Giacone, who played Danny, gave a stellar performance, and brought just the right amount of Travolta swagger to the role. I was also very surprised to find out he was British! I never would have known from his portrayal of Danny. Another loving duo in the cast was Jan and Roger, played by Leigh Jacobson and Trey Harrington. I love these two characters in the show, and Roger’s song is one of my favorites. Leigh gave a funny and quirky performance, and Trey wowed the audience with his hysterical version of “Mooning”.
Lastly, I have to mention the actress who played Rizzo. Sarah Drake played this difficult role with ease and poise that was a level above the rest. I was completely enamored with her, because of the depth she brought to the character. I had never looked at Rizzo as a complex character. To me, she is kinda one of the villains in the show, and thats it. But Sarah Drake make me think again. I saw a tortured girl in love, afraid of failing, and struggling to get through high school with her head held high. When she sang the infamous “There Are Worse Things I Could Do”, I was watching a broadway performance. The entire cast blew me away, but most notably it was Sarah Drake as Rizzo. She was clearly the highlight of this production.
Grease was an amazing production at sea, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves live entertainment. All in all, I am impressed with how much RCI has stepped up their theater game. The ships with the Broadway productions are sure to please any audience who stops by for a show after dinner. I know I was floored by their work.