Whoosh! Online Edition Whoosh! On The Road

Grease Performance
September 2, 1997

By Deb Neufell and Susan Steinike
Whoosh! Report
Copyright © 1997 held by author
1587 words

The Report

Grease Performance, September 2, 1997

The Report

[01] On September 2, 1997, we started the day by arriving at the hotel at the same time, even though Neuf bravely drove from Boston and Steiny flew in from Indianapolis. After depositing our stuff, we headed out to locate the theater and take some pictures. Just a few short blocks away, we saw the pink-painted building beckoning. We took pictures of the building, with its pink "starring Lucy Lawless" sign hanging down from the marquee, and the Lucy "Xena" Lawless in Rizzo garb poster. Then we headed back to the hotel to watch TV. Neither of us get Cartoon Network where we live!

[02] Finally, it was time for the show. We went back at about 7pm, and there was already a crowd gathered by the stage door. We figured Lucy would not make an appearance there, so we avoided that mob scene and spent time talking to several Xenites in the lobby.

[03] Once inside the small (maybe 400 seat) theater, we got to our seats: 4th row, right in the middle. We had been looking forward to this since April and were getting very antsy for the show to start! To be honest, we were a little afraid that people would be showing up in Xena T-shirts or other regalia, since we read about things like this on the mailing lists. However, we underestimated the sense of decorum possessed by our fellow fans because really the only identifying Xena items were a few hats, ribbons, and familiar faces from the Burbank convention.

[04] Ding! The classroom bell rang and it was time for the show to start: Lucy's lifelong dream. Here is how it went:

[05] The first scene had all the cast members behind cutouts made to look like graduates, complete with cap and gown. Only their faces showed. We spotted Lucy immediately because she was making silly Meg-type faces, and the place erupted in exuberant applause.

[06] As Lucy started to "do her thing" as Rizzo, we could tell she was a little nervous. Her hands were shaking and she was really chomping on her gum, but just like at the Burbank convention, the crowd's enthusiastic reaction to her character's wisecracks, singing, and dancing really helped her relax.

[07] We thought she did a great job with the choreography and occasional scenery moving, considering she had only ten days to rehearse. It was a small stage, with a lot of dancing and moving around with a bunch of other people up there. Some of the steps involved passing the microphone around or having to be ready to slap hands with someone during the hand jive, and Lucy never missed a step. Good on ya!

[08] Now for what we all waiting for: her singing! It seems so inadequate to say she was "great" or "awesome", but that is the best way to describe it! Lucy has a beautiful voice. It was clear and on-key. While maybe it was not as "big" as some of the other women in the show, who tended to sound a little strained at times, all we can say is, "It was the first night!" In a few days she will be belting it out even better than her great-sounding opener. She can sing the sassy, funny songs with the whole gang and have a great time, but her big solo moment was near the end of the show with a slow, introspective Rizzo song. Here, without the orchestration and the rest of the cast, we get a glimpse of the real power of her voice that we would love to hear a lot more of.

[09] At the end of the show, following a huge standing ovation, the cast acknowledged her on her opening night and Lucy took a few minutes to speak to the audience. She said performing on Broadway was truly a dream come true for her, and she was extremely grateful for the support of the fans. This was shown on Entertainment Tonight. We were thrilled for Lucy because she was able to realize one of her lifelong dreams, something not many of us get a chance to do. She looked like she was thoroughly enjoying herself, and it was great to see her so happy, on Cloud Nine no less!! We are so glad we went and would go again in a minute.

[10] To anyone who is remotely thinking about going, go!!! You will not be disappointed. With that, we would like to share some of our favorite moments from the show which were absolutely priceless!

  1. [11] Lucy's overall demeanor. From the very beginning you could just tell Lucy was having a good time. We got to see some of those famous silly faces, hear a few goofy voices, plus watch her blow bubbles and arrange her gum over the face of the resident nerd Eugene.

  2. [12] We find out about another one of Lucy's many skills. In one scene, Rizzo and the Pink Ladies are teasing the good girl Sandy about being all prim and proper because she does not drink, smoke, etc. Rizzo grabs a bottle of wine, does the old chug-a-lug, and makes herself burp! Hmm, maybe this was something Lucy picked up during her tomboy days.

  3. [13] The Xena battle cry. During the hand jive competition, the saucy Cha Cha Digregorio ended her routine by yelling out a little trilling "r" sound that you would expect to hear out of Speedy Gonzales. Well, Rizzo shot her this look that said, "you think that's pretty special, huh?" and retaliated with something that sounded suspiciously like the battle cry of our favorite Warrior Princess. Of course the crowd went absolutely nuts; it was fantastic!

  4. [14] Hula hoop trauma. The cast members all had hula-hoops and were swinging their hips to the beat of the music. Lucy had hers going...going...and it fell to the floor. A little girlish pout came upon her face as her hands flew to her hips. She picked up the hula-hoop and got it going... going... and it fell again to the floor. Still another pouty face but a touch of laughter. Luckily the dance number switched to the hoops being swung from their arms and not around their waists. Lucy was probably thankful at that point.

  5. [15] The Xena look almost snuck out a few times. After all, Rizzo is a no-nonsense kind of gal so you would pretty much expect that. However, Lucy's left eyebrow was very well-behaved.

  6. [16] Standing ovation. At the curtain call, the crowd jumped to its feet, cheering wildly for Lucy. She looked a little "gobsmacked" by the response, but she deserved it because she worked so hard and did a great job. Nobody yelled out the Xena battle cry either, for which we were glad, because this was a Lucy thing and not a Xena thing. When the time is right, the Xenites can be a pretty rowdy bunch (the convention), but everyone acted in a mature manner in the theater because we all knew how important this is to Lucy, and we hope she knows that we appreciate her sharing her talent and admire her not only for portraying Xena but will truly support her in whatever other roles she chooses to play.

[17] All in all, the show was great, and Lucy did a fantastic job. We hope our little report is enough to convince you to GO if you are still undecided. It was definitely worth it!

Susan Steinike Susan Steinike
I am originally from Wisconsin, so you can bet I am a big Packer and cheese fan. I got my BS in 1992 with a double major in Chemistry and English. This August I received my Master's degree in Chemistry from Purdue University, and will soon be moving to Nebraska to start my job as a technical service/sales representative for a chemical instrumentation company. In my "free time" I love reading, playing volleyball, and, of course, obsessing over Xena with my Nutball friends.

Favorite episode: REMEMBER NOTHING (#25)
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "That's what friends do. They stand by each other when there's trouble". Xena: "All right...friend". SINS OF THE PAST (#01)
First episode seen: CRADLE OF HOPE (#04)
Least favorite episode: THE EXECUTION (#41)

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