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Release: Immediate

(NOTE TO EDITORS AND BROADCASTERS: "Grease!" ticket sales are brisk. At this point, Zone 2 and 3 seats in the balcony are still available with the greatest number of tickets left for the 8 p.m. Sunday, March 29 performance. But you might want to give the box office a call before publishing or broadcasting this story, to give your audience the most up-to-date ticket information for each performance.)

Hit Broadway musical 'Grease!' returns to UI Hancher Auditorium March 27-29

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "Grease!", a feast of '50s nostalgia that has become one of the most popular musicals in Broadway and film history, will return to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for five performances -- at 8 p.m. Friday, March 27 and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 28 and 29. The corporate sponsor of this Hancher Special Event is Telegroup, Inc., with additional support by KDAT-FM.

The "Grease!" party begins even before the curtain rises. Greaser DJ extraordinaire

Vince Fontaine, "the main brain," will be spinning discs beginning at 7:30 p.m. In addition to playing golden oldies including "Rockin' Robin" and "Runaround Sue," this over-the-top "Grease!" character will take dedications, announce birthdays and invite audience members to dance on stage.

A rousing slice of '50s high-school life -- complete with duck tails, poodle skirts, leather jackets, bobby socks, pajama parties, hot rods, sock hops and drive-in movies -- "Grease!" is now the fifth-longest-running musical in Broadway history, and the original 1972 production and the 1994 revival accumulated 10 Tony Award nominations.

The 1978 film version, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, became the top money-making film musical ever, surpassing even "The Sound of Music," and is on the verge of being re-released. "Grease!" helped to inspire a '50s revival that including the film hit "American Graffitti" and the long-running TV sitcom "Happy Days."

Featuring '50s-flavored songs including "Greased Lightnin'," "Summer Nights," "Born to Hand Jive," "Shakin' at the High School Hop," "It's Raining on Prom Night," "All Choked Up" and "We Go Together," "Grease!" is the story of the Class of '58 at Rydell High, where the Burger Palace Boys and the Pink Ladies defined what was cool.

It is also the love story of an improbable pair -- Danny Zuko, king of the Burger Palace Boys, and Sandy Dumbrowski, a wholesome, naive transfer student whose life is changed forever by tough-talking Rizzo, leader of the Pink Ladies.

"Grease!" began in the spring of 1971 as a small, unpretentious production with an amateur cast at the little, out-of-the-way Chicago theater called the Kingston Mines. To the surprise of the creators, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, the show continued to draw capacity crowds for eight months.

New York producers caught wind of the underground phenomenon, and after scouting the show they decided that "Grease!" could be a winner on Broadway as well. Soon after the opening on Feb. 14, 1972, New York critics were heralding the show's style and flare. Moving to bigger stages on Broadway, "Grease!" ran for eight years, closing as the longest-running show in Broadway history. A series of road companies have spread the success of "Grease!" worldwide.

Remaining tickets for "Grease!" are $36 and $33. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20 percent discount, and tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial

(319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Audio description, a service for audience members with visual impairment, will be available at both March 29 performances. In addition, an American Sign Language signer will interpret the 2 p.m. March 29 performance.