SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – You’ll recognize the music, but the rest of the show is a refreshing new take on a hit musical. The production is coming back to New Mexico this week.
Crystle Lightning and her husband said they’ve always loved the movie Grease.
“We were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was an indigenous version of Grease,’” said Lightning.
Two years ago, the couple created ‘Bear Grease.’ It’s a spin on the original musical bringing together an indigenous cast from all over North America.
“We just Indigenized everything through our costumes. Sandy’s poodle skirt is actually a ribbon skirt and the boys wear beadwork, but they still wear leather jackets,” added Lightning.
The cast has been on tour through the U.S. and Canada. This week the show will be in New Mexico playing at the Santa Fe Playhouse; just in time for the Santa Fe Indian Market. The show keeps the general storyline of the original, as well as the melodies.
“Biggest differences are there’s a lot of music that’s more hip hop oriented, and the cast members have their native bling on,” said Bear Grease Cast Member Justin Giehm.
Cast members from different tribes incorporate their language and culture into the songs and dialogue with plenty of cultural humor sprinkled in.
While the story maintains a lighthearted tone, its creators mentioned they also found ways to incorporate more serious social issues facing their communities.
“I feel it is revolutionary what we are doing. I really feel it’s important in the era that we’re in. We’re hitting a time where it’s about time we see representation come to the forefront, especially within mainstream entertainment to tell our own stories,” said Bear Grease Cast Member Teneil Whiskeyjack.
The show runs Wednesday through Sunday. A link to show times and tickets can be found here.