Greece does Grease! This is one of Screaming Chicken’s Big Deal productions! We are attempting to take a classical Burlesque play, one which parodies popular theatre (in this case, one of the world’s most successful musicals), to a larger, more upscale venue!! We’re going to the West side bay-bee!!! EEEE!!! I will admit to being slightly terrified. Yes, we did this last year with SHINE: a Burlesque Musical, but alot of the production efforts were lead by the amazingly talented super singing duo The Wet Spots. We learned sooo much from the last run! I definitely did anyway! I was asked to take over the choreographer position from my ultimately awesome super talented compadre Melody Mangler for that run. I am definitely tried to take what I learned from that awesome experience and apply it here! I’ve found it important to try and be organized, to have some freekin faith in my and the cast’s abilities, and to keep positive. Long rehearsals are hard on everyone and I’ve been trying to keep things light so we all don’t want to kill ourselves as much. Fear has been trying to play into things here as this is one of our first attempts at making it on our own at this scale without co-producers. Melody Mangler wrote the play, Violet Femme is directing, and I’ve been in charge of the choreo. One of the reasons SHINE was so incredibly awesome was that it ultimately had some really deep and meaningful messages about Burlesque that we were able to convey to a mainstream audience. This play is pure Burlesque! All parody, all satire, annnnd alot of dick jokes! I’m hoping that this will translate and the audience will be able to enjoy a play with adult humor that is ultimately 100% pure titillation. I’m pretty sure they will! One of the great things about comedy is that if you can make people laugh- you already won half your battle! Its hard not to like something that makes you feel good! Laughing is Awesome!!!
It has been hard for me to assume the title of Choreographer for this project because in truth, most of the pieces were done collaboratively. I can’t say the entire thing is my vision and my vision alone because that simply is not the truth. We work really well together and I think usually the pieces that result are stronger because of it! But this is not to say I haven’t been working ridiculously hard in my position. I have been to more rehearsals that most cast!! I think a more honest title for my position would be Dance Director or Choreo Realizer. I have been cleaning and directing and choreographing nonstop for the last month and to be honest- It looks good. I feel good! I am proud of our efforts!
I have found inspiration in lot of places for this production! The majority being from different Musicals I have loved over the years and the original Grease productions. Back to School from Grease 2 is one of my favorite ensemble pieces ever!! I am always inspired by large group numbers that can use simple movements but end up looking powerful through unison and performance. I tried really hard to encourage both of those with our cast. To remember the choreo from the last run we were lucky enough that we had footage to refer to. It had been filmed from the balcony of the Wise Hall so I really ended up with a birds eye view and was able to deduce a few things. One of them being that even if the movement is simple, its better if its bigger!! If say an arm circle was required, I would direct for it to be larger! Higher than your head! Just makes everything seem more grand and exciting! It doesn’t have to be harder- it just has to be bigger! The second thing I noticed was that I needed more elaborate shapes. It was harder to work with a larger group just based on my experience with smaller ones but it was a fun challenge. Simple things like turning 2 lines into 4 made it seem like more was going on and felt less boring. I also found it a fun challenge to try and get different groups moving differently at the same time. More going on=more fun to watch! Overall I am really pleased with the results! I hope for more opportunities to apply what I’ve learned working with such a large cast to other big group numbers in the future.
That being said, come check out our show!! Its very awesome! Greece does Grease is running Oct 7-Oct 10 and then again Oct 13- 16 at the Waterfront Theatre. You can buy tickets here http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/131168 and find out more info here http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=149099188462081&ref=ts.
Below is a clip from Dress rehearsal of Persephone of the Nympths, a Trailer for our play, and a vid of Back to School from Grease 2! Enjoy!
My adventures in Burlesque Choreography!