Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Greasing the Skids to Broadway

Watched NBCs "Grease, You're the One That I Want," auditions and I'm still in shock. I haven't yet fancied up to the idea of America choosing its Broadway Stars ala American Idol, but, obviously, this seems to be the trend. So, I won't belabor that.

What does bother me, however, about the process is the little regard some of those auditioning have for the viewing audience. The prescreening should have eliminated almost any contestant above the age of 25 to play the roles of Sandy and Danny, teenagers, on the live stage. Period.

Although time can appear to stand still visually, the human body and movement rarely retains the free motion of a teenager. I know. I know. Theater is illusion and older people have played younger parts for years. But, audiences aren't stupid, and the search should be for the most talented teenagers America has to offer.

Times have changed. Our young are being schooled in the performing arts, barely out of toddler clothes, and are quite skilled. For this revival production of Grease, I should think we would have more than enough young teenaged performers to choose from, without having to resort to using people too old for the part, as if the theater were in some backwater community putting on a show after the drug store closes.

Of course, this would take away from the joy of watching auditionees make total fools of themselves. Not that they can't dance or sing, (and did it, quite well, in their youth) but even the most casual glance in the mirror should tell them they are just too old for the part. Although, in that regard, I would have to agree that the show would be less entertaining for the viewers. But, come on, if these old fogeys are going to audition for part, the least they could do is look like a teenager.

I'm reminded of a production of Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare's Avon Theatre, where the actor playing Juliet couldn't have been a day under 62! Try focusing on that story and feeling sorry for a 62-year-old with parent problems.

If they want it to sparkle, let the new Sandy and Danny reflect the blossom of youth. They are out there and we want to see them.

1 comment:

Matthew C. Keegan said...

I couldn't agree more. If you are to capture the interest of a fresh generation of Grease followers, why not include this generation's stars?

Maybe the producers will even have the courage to bring in those of different racial groups to play the various parts too.