by Thomas Armstrong-Robley
" Hello readers and welcome to 'The Directors Corner' where over the 6 weeks myself, the cast and production team of Grease shall be giving you a glimpse into the behind the scenes of RMT Youth's inaugural production, so come with us as we give you a sneak peak of what it takes to bring Rydell High back to Redcliffe. "
We start our story roughly 2 years and 8 months ago when I found myself picking up the script and score to one of the worlds most popular musicals for the first time, there I was behind the steering wheel of Greased Lightning and surrounded by a wealth of talented performers who would soon become treasured friends. The experience of performing in Grease back in December of 2012 and watching the infectious effect on audiences as we rocked through hit after hit was one that it would not soon be forgotten by the performers or by those who saw it. I cannot explain to you the reason the world clings to this piece of musical theatre so dearly or why it continues to sell out around the world but perhaps it doesn't need explaining, some things are simply destined to be a part of lives and need to be passed down from generation to generation.
So when talks began with myself, Madeleine Johns (Executive Producer) and Lucas D. Lynch (Musical Director) to create the RMT Youth Initiative, we mulled over options for a premiere production which would launch the concept with high energy and a spotlight on young performers. Soon enough it became clear to us that one show stood above the rest as engaging, exciting and relevant for the young adults who would go on to perform it, was of course Grease. So we put the word out and received an overwhelming response, held a highly energetic information night and sat through 3 days of auditions to find our cast and my what a cast we found. If I had to describe this cast using 1 word it would be 'balance', to me this cast combines a perfect combination of seasoned performers with new discoveries, treads the line of fun and hard work and ultimately has created a wonderfully positive working environment. The cast features local performers who I'm sure will be recognised by many but it is also wonderful to welcome so many new performers into the RMT family, performers who travel from as far as Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast to partake in this production. Two performers who know all about the travel involved are the fierce Nathan Hollingworth and our one-liner machine Kaitlyn Maxwell who play Johnny Casino and Jan respectively, I sat down with these two newcomers to the Redcliffe stage to ask them all about themselves and the show.
So, tell us a bit about yourself...
Nathan: My name is Nathaniel Hollingworth! Nathan is fine There's not much about me other than the fact that I love to perform. I can be a bit of a bookworm, LOVE Greek Theatre, absolute night owl (hate morning rehearsals) and piña coladas
Kaitlyn: Hola! I'm kaitlyn I'm a wannabe comedian and actress. I like cars and dogs. In fact all of my animals are named after cars or car parts. I'm a cook and barista at the Lone Pine Koala Santurary and my best friend is a koala named Barry who lives next door to my locker.
What is your performing experience?
Nathan: I've been performing from a very young age! Mostly singing and acting, it wasn't until recently I've found a passion for dance and I've really embraced it and love everything about it! I'm very much a character actor having played roles like Sebastian (Little Mermaid), Lumiere (Beauty + Beast) and the Cowardly Lion (The Wiz).
Kaitlyn: My first performance was a play called Cinderbella, which was a "fractured fairytale" production which combined plots and story lines from Cinderella and beauty and the beast. My first musical was Grease (2012) and I played Marty. Last year I played Tess in Camp rock, and I played Mrs Clause in a Christmas pantomime called "Spaced Out Santa". I was delighted to find out the actor who played Santa was 66 years old, I was stoked... I've also been in a couple of school based plays such as "wolf lullaby" "Aprils fools" and "snagged". My first paid role was the lead in a short film called "the jester".
How have you found it joining RMT for Grease?
Nathan: Having joined Redcliffe Musical Theatre I was rather nervous, not knowing how anyone in your cast can be daunting, especially when you have some pretty intense choreography with them or harmonies to hold with people you've never sung with before. However the cast of Grease are so inviting and embraced the newbies like we had always been apart of the family, we were just hiding in the cupboard.
Kaitlyn: I've loved it, I've never been in a production where everyone is a triple threat. I thought id hate coming to rehearsals at a stage, because of the drive... But I've got nothing but amazing things to say about this production and the team involved!
What is your favourite part of the show to watch or perform?
Kaitlyn: I'm absolutely loving Rizzo's version of Look At Me I'm Sandra Dee. Us pink ladies have all developed such a wonderful bond both on stage and off and since we have that natural chemistry everything looks and feels so much better. I love the Grease Lighting scene and choreography, I think it looks and sounds wonderful. But I cannot wait for the finishing touches of the Prom scene! The Hand jive is going to be great! I can't wait for this show to be polished and clean, but also want it to take it's time because I don't want it to come to an end!
Nathan: It's hard to pick because I'm loving so much of it! I think what I love most is not the iconic songs that everyone knows from Grease but the ones people don't really walk around singing. Songs like "Raining on Prom Night", "Shakin at the High School Hop" and "Those Magic Changes". Because they aren't iconic we have so much free reign to make it our own and the singers have really taken that on and have blown me away.
You can catch Nathan & Kaitlyn along with Adam Goodall as Danny, Genevieve Tree as Sandy and the rest of the gang from Rydell High this June 12th & 13th only. Tickets on sale NOW, for more information click below.