We had a fantastic and enthusiastic turn out for our Grease Intro Evening on Friday 29th November! After our welcoming committee of Madeline and David greeted everyone with a festive platter of snacks – including mulled wine – the room quickly hushed for the introduction of our 2020 production's director, Mark Tunstall.
Mark took everyone on a whistle-stop tour of the history of Grease, exploring how it had originally been conceived as a comical parody of '60s "beach" movies – hence the show's references, among other things, to Sandra D (which had hitherto been completely missed by the younger members of Mark's audience... and many of the older!).
Mark explained his exciting vision: to channel the energy of the cult classic film whilst capturing the essence of the original Broadway show. The latter was always much more of an ensemble piece, and Mark surprised and delighted us with examples of how characters with minor roles in the movie are much more prominent on stage – even, in some cases, performing the songs now more famously attributed to Danny or Sandy on celluloid.
Many laughs were also had watching footage of previous productions – some of which Mark was presenting as inspiration, others decidedly the opposite! Perhaps most hilarious of all was Richard Gere's very early (pre-cinematic Grease) performance as Danny – definitely worth looking up on YouTube if you need a quick perk-up...!
It was great to see many new faces amongst castmembers from recent productions (e.g. American Idiot and Chitty), as well as regular members too. Some, like former committee member Laura Roberts, called Grease their favourite musical – so were over the blue moon that it will now be produced by their favourite Cambridge musical theatre club!