Greasing the Wheels of a Legacy…

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 1.04.42 PM.pngSecond nights. are unusual to be last nights, so quickly following up first nights, but what matters is what occurs between the first and finale – and not to be disappointed, the vibrations of success, nostalgia, and the realm of possibility all existed again on one stage with a whole lot of “grease” to keep everything moving.

It was amazing to “hang out” behind the stage, on the stage, and in the FAC before the production itself started.  Stories of Tech gone wrong (there are many- there SHOULD be a book), the excitement of a cast that was experiencing what many have experienced before so many times ; the images and memories of the productions dating back to Beauty and the Beast have never left me, ever ever left me, and so I am haunted by those amazing memories combined with the current day’s production, and it feels as if everyone of those individuals still share the spaces in between scenes of all these productions.

The audience was amazing as always filing in, and I had the privilege of sitting beside one of the old timers (and he is so incredibly young), Ivan, and we shot back and forth what we remembered since Les Miserables, and even what occurred in Beauty and the Beast, with Ivan enlightening me on so many theatre and film experiences he has acquired, I would opt to say it was a fine evening before it even truly began, all involving theatre. 

The night and last show was amazing for the very fact that the heart and soul of so many was being played out right in front of you. We were the lucky participants to be able to experience it, from the very beginning where you sensed the last show and first time we ever did this energy, to the amazing ending where…well, we will get to that at the end of this blog, won’t we?  Huge huge Kudos to –  

Gonzalo A – Okay so I admit it, after the first night, and moving into the second night, I wondered is this is brother or is this Gonzalo, but it will be difficult to ever picture him as anything outside of Grease after the attitude, ease, and comfort level he exhibited as Danny Zuko.  By the way, was calling RIzzo, Sandy, part of the script, just saying, it wasn’t in my memory from the first night…if not, it was played so so well – showing the ad lib ability of making this show simply work, up until the very last line.

Ana C – While the “first Ms. Lynch” was pretty specific in her characteristics, and it worked, so did what Ana brought to the role of Ms. Lynch.  A little more snarky, a little more unique and less rough, yet irritating, her role did the job for sure.  Always having to be in the “know” you get that feel about her whenever she appeared, at any event, any announcement, anything, Ms. Lynch was always there.  Ana does a good job, of insuring that Ms. Lynch remains a presence throughout this production.

Oriana C – The life of the beats, the life of the competitions, the life of the mic.  At times I wanted Oriana to belt it out so much more, but, her presence and motivating the competitions and just the theme of dancing – love.  Kind of makes you think of Footloose.    Especially the FIRST footloose 🙂

Polo C- A whole lot of personality packed into what could be a minor character, Polo does not let it be a minor character.  It almost seems as he was always made for leather grease, and the tough talk.  He walks the walk, and talks the talk, and the production is better for it, all the way to the closing of the curtain.  It is easy to say he is an original member of the “T’Birds.”

Ale D – Maintaining a stage presence is not difficult to do, if you are Ale, and even though the show is two nights, we all find ourselves wanting more time.  If you watch the precision and energy she puts into the dances moves, trying no to be irritated or irritated, or keeping her fellow cast in line when they call her Sandy (did you catch that the last show?) – she is the epitome of passing the torch onto someone else and believing in the power of a Middle School Drama group, and having something to say and leave audiences with.  Now THAT is a LONG sentence, BUT – when you see Ale and heard Ale speak at the last show of moving from her school to be involved in Drama here? – you thank your stars that this event, Grease, Ale, and everyone together bringing the excitement to stage, occurred in the first place.

Alexander F – Still to me representing a lively Casey Kasem, I did see his speech, while quick and catchy, slowed a bit to allow for more understanding.  It is funny to also pay attention to his antics from behind the mic as well.  There are many.  The blue suit speaks volumes in his relationship to the cast of Grease, and this goes a long way in greasing the wheels of “coolness” in Grease overall.

Lauro F – Sorry – I can’t help this but this is what comes to mind – Animal House, James Belushi – a broken guitar – but when Lauro steps up, no smashing needed.  His ability resonates through his need and wantingness to be that good, and he is.  He continues to show he fits right in with the period, with that guitar in his hand, and with the ability to get everyone tapping their toes and feet.  He makes it work, and makes it all work well as Doody, and he is able to rock everyone around him.  What more could you ask for?

Luciana – Yes, every bit the cheerleader, Luciana is able to pull this off amazingly.  She is everywhere you expect and don’t expect her to be, a busybody a complete kiss up to everyone, and sometimes as sweet as it could make you sick – so yes, she pulls this role off sometimes it seems effortlessly.  it is amazing that when you think you have identified the key characters, then there are characters that can easily cause you to be confused with who is actually in the lead roles.  Luciana does a absolute energetic process in making Patty Simcox as real as you’d expect to turn in the hall and see her tomorrow!

Miriam-  (Again, this sounds like a broken record), but after seeing the first night, one wonders, how could someone pull of a successful Jan in  a second show, how could there be a second Jan?  Of course there was and Miriam pulled off the back and forth, here and there kind of toying that occurred with Patrico as Roger.  It helped blend with the other potential relationships that were occurring on stage and in between alot of bravado – and together – yes.  Much much support should be sent to the roles of Jan for being an exceptional supporting element of Grease as a whole.

Monste  – After seeing the first night’s Frenchy, I thought, how could there be another one?  Well another side to Frenchy is definitely there and represented well in Monste’s body.  Again, the power of seeing the strength Jacinta brought to Frenchy only helped set the stage for another interpretation of how Montse could pave the road for another Frenchy.  Do so and doing so well she does.  From being frustrated, defiant, and submissive, her pink hair matches perfectly how she portrays the attitudes and emotions Frenchy works through, all through this production. Well, well done as a complement to what seemed an insurmountable challenge from the first night.

Mare  – As the outrageous, outgoing, and VERY forward Cha-Cha – she pulls it off and pulls Gonzalo (as Danny) right into and onto the dancefloor.  It takes energy, a level of heightened self-awareness that just someone as Mare can do.  Especially competing with a first night Cha-Cha, then you realize, there is no competition, it is just being able to play off the opposites and the other ways to portray Cha-Cha – and being able to do so she does.  Her lines and moves need to be in line to pull off the anger that could result on the dance floor, and she does!

Patricio R – There are so many absolute references to “Moon”, we could have a blog post JUST on that, lol.  Aside from his behind antics, Patricio goes on to represent “mooning” but even moreso, does a GREAT job of the musical additions with Jan, and surprises all of us a bit.  While not from the ASF production, this clip, goes on to offer not much competition on how well as job Patricio does with this role while also fitting right in with the overall gang of the “T-Birds.”

Yu Hyun – it would seem Yu Hyun would be way too shy to pull off a spotlighted angel.  At first it would seem that.  Have no fear, by the end of the number with Frenchy, she is able to tick off, humiliate, and show that Frenchy made the wrong choice and she does this in her own style.  It is super exciting to see the potential someone has when they might not have ever tried the stage at all, and one gets the feeling with Yu Hyun in this fashion.

Peyton – Yet another quite colorful “T-Bird” , Peyton almost uses the difference in his attitude to those in his gang  to push those around him to be much more forward, more bold, more outstanding, simply be making the role of Kenicke fit him like a leather glove.  (Maybe a jacket).  Grease, comb, and jacket included, Peyton lets this role suit him and suit everyone else around him with the interactions he has with EVERYONE.  Excellent addition to the staff and the attitude of indifference he exhibits lets this role shine.

Sandy  – I felt there was a HUGE contrast between the Sandy played by Ana and the Sandy played by Alexia, and I think it makes the overall show even better.  Certain singing numbers were definitely more suited to either actress, and while some characteristics of Sandy differed when confronted with changing her look and approach, some the reactions to Danny also resembled both night’s shows.  I feel the ability to focus on who Sandy was as a main character was not a weakness for Alexia in this production and also felt moments where I hoped her voice was a little stronger and could be heard more, as I think many were surprised as the strength he voice could have in the role of Sandy. Well done and well thought out as part of the overall cast.

Valentina – Valentina represents a Marty that seems so in tune with the real Marty I remembered from Grease.  Age-wise Valentina brings a sense of maturity, facial expression, and approach that stands out from any character is just being the fact that she IS Marty!  She brings the right amount of knowing who is is and who she wants to be to the role, and is one of the characters that I feel for sure we will see on stage soon, otherwise many will be missing alot of talent she has to bring to many roles.

Daniel W – There is no limit or level of sympathy that Daniel is not able to bring to this role, as well as laughter and sincerity.  He does this from the very very beginning.  Showing some of the antics that the original grease maintained, Eugene continues to shine in so many parts throughout the production, and his solo scene to his overall student body scenes cement his important on the stage!

I could go into the details of the amazing address given by the cast of Grease at the end of this show, but if you weren’t there, it can;t be really put into words.  You get this idea though, the risks and learning experiences the cast took away from them after just two shows? – you learn everything you need to know from that final address from the members involved in this production.

The Ensemble played SUCH an important role, SUCH that you realize it in a HUGE onrush when they come to the edge of the stage – and you realize how much a part they made throughout the whole production, if you did not catch all the details as Grease was progressing.

If you did not realize how much the stage crew, the tech crew, the light crew, the production crew made – to the actors and actresses – adding them all up, you have an AMAZING effort thanks to Maria A, Andrea A, Natalia B, Paloma C, Fer Diaz P, Daniella F, Ana Sofia L, Maia R, Petra S, Ariadna V, Ms Rosana Cesarman, Manuela Fagoaga (I LOVE they received their own jackets!), Annabella M., Gustavo A and Patrick B, of course, Teruhi and Hugo, and the support of a Middle School led by Mr. Robert Lewis, a week later, you can still hear and feel the “Greased” wheels of a successful production.

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About Harry Brake

Employee of ASF in Mexico City, Librarian, Media crazy! :)
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