Rosie O’Donnell once said that Grease is like jury duty for actors. Indeed everyone who treads the boards must, at least once, be involved with a production of Grease. I got mine out of the way backstage and only briefly. It was in Germany and they used an actual Trabant for Greased Lightning–a car made of particle board and fiberglass and, once the engine was removed, light enough to be carried on and off stage by 4 people. That production used all te naughty bits, though. I just got to see the “school version” that has lyrics like “but no customer would go to you unless it was your father!”
Julianna was playing Cha-cha in the second cast of her school’s production. The cast was made up of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, which makes for awkard dance scenes, but they did a good job with it, on the whole. I just love getting to see these kids, that I’ve known since they were bringing My Little Ponies to school in their Blue’s Clues backpacks, all dressed up and half-grown. Because everyone who auditions gets a part, the show is double cast and they missed several rehearsals due to snow. There were many long “who’s line is it?” pauses, but there is no audience more understanding than one made up of your parents and grandparents and people who’ve known you forever.
The first night, I helped out backstage, taking tickets, running the bake sale concession, lending a hand where needed. In doing so, I got to watch Middle Schoolers at Play–the kids who weren’t on stage that night, messing around with each other. Oh, the flirting. It’s that side-ways not really flirting kind. Girl pokes boy in the belly, boy pokes back. Girl squeals “Hey! Cut it out!” (but you know that if he did, she’d cry herself to sleep) Boy makes crack about not feeling it b/c of his rock hard abs. Then says “Well, it’s more like that kind of rock that breaks if you scratch it hard…” (I know, I thought it was pretty cute too. But I refrained from poking him in the belly) They were adorable and it felt like only about a week ago that I’d been doing the same thing. But the judge said I had to stop.
I took photos at a dress rehersal, since we couldn’t use a flash at the show. Julianna was wearing a cardigan in rehersal b/c I’d had to extend the back of the dress and it was kind of choppy looking. For the show, I’d masked the patch job so that she could go sweater-less. She was playing Cha-cha, Kenicke’s blind date for the dance. She’s kind of a snot, but is the best dancer at St.Bernadettes. Kenicke ditches her for Rizzo, and Cha-cha ends up teacher Eugene to cha-cha and then wins the hand jive contest with Danny.
Here, she arrives with Kenicke and they exchange bon mots (yes, he’s an 8th grader. He’s been a big kid for a long time. Yes, she’s a 6th grader. She’s been a big kid for a long time):
She gets stuck with Eugene (this whole section got cut both nights, someone dropped a line and someone picked up a page later….the Cha-chas were not happy):
Oh, Hand-Jive, how you bore us!
This is an elegant move, don’t you find?
It’s less “jury duty” and more “court-ordered sentence.”
The night of the show, they had a local beauty school (my beloved Paul Mitchell Temple) come in to do hair and make-up. They were fond of the curling iron.
The red dress in that photo was my Granny’s. I’ve worn it to holiday parties, too.
We call this one “*sigh* Daaaadddy!”
Who’s a tired Schmoo?
After two weeks of rehearsing until 7 every night, she could barely move once she got home from the cast party. But she’s already sad it’s over. until, lord help me, Annie.