ON STAGE

An occasional update of New York theater openings

* GREASE! (Eugene O'Neill Theatre): The producing team of Barry and Fran Weissler has consistently invigorated its revivals with canny and creative casting (Kathleen Turner in ``Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,'' Tyne Daly in ``Gypsy''). Despite severely mixed notices, its new Broadway production of ``Grease'' has been an audience pleaser, and is likely to continue to do sellout business with the addition of Brooke Shields playing the quintessential good-hearted tramp, Rizzo. Shields never succeeds in submerging her aristocratic beauty for the role, and her singing voice is no improvement on her predecessor, Rosie O'Donnell's. Nonetheless, she proves to be a winning presence onstage, and she delivers a charming curtain speech.

* NUNSENSE 2: THE SEQUEL (Douglas Fairbanks Theater): The Little Sisters of Hoboken, N.J., are back in the sequel to the smash hit ``Nunsense,'' one of the longest-running Off Broadway shows and probably one of the world's most-produced musicals. Actually, this sequel, also written and directed by Dan Goggin, has already played in most cities around the country. It is only now settling down in New York to run in repertory with the original. Truth to tell, the charms of ``Nunsense'' have always escaped me, and this carbon-copy successor left me equally unamused. Still, you can't argue with success, and the audiences that have kept the original running for 10 years will no doubt return for more. Try not to fall for the corny bingo trick.

* LIVING PROOF PLAYHOUSE 91 (The Jewish Repertory Theatre): A new comedy by Gordon Rayfield (``Bitter Friends'') about the ultimate dysfunctional family. Henry is a former junk-bond salesman, just out of jail, who goes to visit his ex-wife, now married to his former shrink, and kids. His return is greeted less than happily, and things get even more outrageous when he has a fling with his ex-wife's stepdaughter. The play feels like a risque sitcom and lacks the substance and hilarity to justify a trip to the theater. The talented cast works hard to enliven the material, to little effect.

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