Bright pink lipstick, black leather coats, curly wigs, a wooden car and about 35 dedicated students; this is the recipe for a fantastic musical. Students at Université Sainte-Anne, in Clare, Nova Scotia, Canada, put on the production, Grease! The Musical! and blew away the audience during both showings. Being the makeup artist, I was lucky to attend the dress rehearsals and watch the performance from back stage.
Every moment spent with these students, whether it was patting their cheeks with powder, breathing in hairspray or living vicariously through them while on stage, was a moment of joy. Effort was put into every single detail, including the costumes which they found and put together themselves. Their hard work shined through their acts and the fun they had on stage clearly spread through to the audience.
What I didn’t realize was the amount of w-o-r-k that goes into such a production. Not only does the cast practice for hours a day for a few weeks, but the backstage crew must also be present. Students behind the scenes took care of some technical work, musical direction, constructive criticism, moving and replacing props and controlling the curtain. Thought must go into every tiny detail, something to which I would have otherwise never paid attention.
Melanie O’Hara of Halifax was the musical director and also played sassy Rizzo. Having taken part in theatre for years, this does not come as something new but she clearly enjoyed it just the same. She said the rehearsals varied from stressful to a lot of fun but was really happy with the show itself. “I loved working with each and everyone but the best part for me is the real deal, the show. It’s exhilarating when you simply walk on stage and the crowd is cheering for you. Or you deliver a line and the audience explodes with laughter.’’
From back stage I could see the audience tuned in to the show, laughing and holding their breath at just the right moments, completely engaged. Not only did I get to make some faces less shiny and some eye lashes longer, I got to meet fabulous people and know the true definition of dedication, hard work, team work and most of all, fun (not to mention the awesome after party)!! Honestly, no matter where you go in the world, you will meet beautiful, friendly and super talented people.