For Joseph Corella, “Grease” is the word – in song and, in particular, dance.
Corella is dance captain and swing in the current national tour that plays the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Feb. 23-28.
Last year was a big one for Corella, who’s openly gay and proud of it. He began touring non-stop in “Grease,” his first national tour. And on June 30, he married his husband, fellow actor Jonathan Sandler, who’s appearing on Broadway in “Mary Poppins” and is also a dance captain and swing.
“We make it a point to see each other every three weeks,” Corella says. “You need somebody to understand (all the touring) and be supportive.”
At 27, Corella has risen quickly through the ranks. He’s responsible for ensuring that Tony Award-winning director Kathleen Marshall’s choreography remains crisp and fresh. “It’s such an honor being under her direction to keep the integrity of the show,” he says.
For the first time on stage since the show’s debut in 1971 (yes, it’s been that long), this production includes songs from the 1978 hit film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Devoted “Grease-rs” will get to hear “You’re the One That I Want” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” along with other favorites from the film.
Of course, the production also features the original theatrical classics, including “We Go Together” and “Summer Nights.” Playing the role of Teen Angel is 2006 “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks.
The excitement starts even with the opening number and doesn’t let up, Corella says.
“When the Thunderbirds open their lockers, the screaming starts,” he says. “And with the world a little crazy right now, we hope that when (the audience) leaves ‘Grease,’ they’ve had a chance to escape with us for two and a half hours.”
“Grease” runs Feb. 23-28 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St. For more information, call the Marcus Center Box Office at 414-273-7206 or visit www.MarcusCenter.org.