Behind The Scenes: Unsung Heroes Of Iconic Action Movies – The crew members behind the movie “Grease” were just as important as the actors. Pictured (l-r) Shelley Giles, Mark Weisenmiller, Amogha Kuppaa, Emma Hosking, Jannah Nager, Emily Buonaquisiti, Bella Otte, Kristin Nelson, Tami Carr, Katie Carr, James Cass, Nora Paine, Heather Cleveland and Ereka Morton. (Photo by Picture This of Palma Ceia)
Almost everyone is familiar with “Grease,” the iconic musical with toe-tapping tunes, incredible dance moves, and the romance and drama of Rydell High. Behind all the glitz and glamor of the show is the incredible work of a dedicated team that makes the actors look (and sound) their best.
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As the first official New Tampa Players (NTP) show at the New Tampa Performing Arts Center, “Grease” is no ordinary musical; It’s a high-energy ride through the glorious 50’s that takes on a 1957 Chrysler. and off stage. A hidden army of talented workers ensure the success of the show, working diligently behind the scenes. They don’t often get the limelight, but the show couldn’t go on without them.
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NTP Producing Artistic Director Nora Paine, mother of four and also Producing Artistic Director, manages the stage with help from playwrights Kristin Nelson, Emily Buonaquisiti and Mark Weisenmiller. Headphones on and monitor on, the company feels safe as Paine calls out cues from a barely lit space. Her expert husband Joshua, “her theater saint,” and son Sebastian also play important roles, helping with props and lights (while Keith Eisenstadt designed the lighting).
Paine jokes that his favorite part of being a stage manager “sounds like a lot of stage management, but when a scene change goes right. The stage lights go down at the right moment. The sets move in the choreography you need. Everything slides. Next play comes in. The lights go up, and all the orchestras sync up together.”
Nelson, a medical scribe and first assistant stage manager who has worked on a number of past NTP productions, says, “My favorite thing has been watching the actors grow. I love being a part of the magic behind the scenes. Creating this world was amazing. Beautiful.”
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The recent high school graduate from Buonaquisi added, “I really enjoy working with the actors, especially during set changes, to make sure everything goes smoothly and safely.”
The performers spend months perfecting their lines, voice and choreography, the director and music director are the masterminds behind the magic. In this musical, these roles are played by the same person.
A computer programmer by day, director and music director G. Frank Meekins says his favorite moment was: “We actually got our stage, and the production came alive. We finally had the space to spread our wings.”
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Meekins says wearing both hats for “Grease” requires more effort, as her focus is split between two different roles; however, with real directorial control, he was given the creativity to gel dialogue and music. “It’s rewarding when everything comes together,” he says.
Meekins also notes, “Even though this show, which follows the movie that many know, is a little bit sharper and deals with coming-of-age situations differently than the movie. We’re actually doing the original Broadway version from 1972. We’ve kept (most of) it.” ) elements that would be considered taboo today to maintain the style of the society of that time”.
Professional dancers, founders of Atlas Modern Ballet, and HCC instructor Sarah Walston provided the choreography for the show’s unforgettable dance routines. He taught the actors hand-jives, jitterbugs and other energetic dance routines, a new experience for the ballet and contemporary dance choreographer.
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“As a dancer, I love ‘Grease,'” says Walston. “The sense of community made a project like this less stressful with all those moving parts. It was really teamwork and a great experience for me to learn what can happen in a musical with a great community.”
You can’t have “Grease” without T-Birds leather and Pink Ladies jackets and authentic ’50s attire. Michell “Shelley” Giles and Heather Cleveland, engineer/retired teacher and chair of the NTP Board of Directors, put together more than 100 different outfits for the show, going as far as researching whether each fabric and pattern was just right. time. Both women say that working with costumes is like solving a satisfying puzzle, especially with a very limited budget to buy the costumes and the materials to make them.
“My favorite part of the job was making some of the dresses,” says Giles, a self-taught seamstress. “As a customer, I like to see the actors live on stage. My hobby is sewing. I sew everything.”
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Cleveland added, “You want everyone on stage to feel amazing. I enjoy being creative, starting from nothing and making something blossom.” As an example, Cleveland says, “We took off Frenchy’s prom dress three or four times; A new bodice was made and we folded the skirt by hand. I am happy with the results of the work done on it.’
Behind the curtain, a small army of costumers, prop assistants, stagehands and costumers, including college senior Emma Hosking and aerial acrobats, help wait in the wings to help the actors make quick costume changes and make sure everyone is safe. they have the props they need for each scene.
“During Freddy My Love,” Hosking said, “we did a dramatic lip sync to the song. I looked forward to every performance.”
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The costumes and stage crew, all coordinated by Giles, Cleveland and prop master Tami Carr (Olivia’s mother, who played Sandy, and Sean Carr, who played bass in the band), included Amogha Kuppaa, Ereka Morton, Ryan Pettaway. Bella Otte, Tracy Stemm, Katie Guerra, Jannah Nager and Katie Carr.
Tami Carr, a retired pediatric orthotist and prosthetist, is the woman behind all the props. From sourcing authentic items from the 50s to making food that looks realistic, this creative wizard turns trash into treasure…literally. He claims to have created Sonny’s “zip gun” from items found in the trash.
Tami explains how excited she is for NTP to have a new home: “They do everything so thoroughly and brilliantly. Over the years, I’ve been saddened by people not always seeing shows because they didn’t have a consistent venue. To have all these sold-out shows, I feel happy. Not only for the cast of Grease, but for everyone. Finally, people can experience and appreciate what they do.”
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Supported by most of the cast, the actors led by Paul McColgan work quickly and quietly, changing scenes with precision and coordination like ninjas in black. The “furniture” built for the show by stage artists Leiann Klein, Kyle Billington, Tami and Olivia Carr, Dakota Henry, Alex DeJoseph and Olivia’s co-stars Joshua Paine gave it its distinctive ’50s look.
In addition, sound man John Camacho made sure that the artists’ 24 microphones not only worked, but also had compatible volume levels before each performance. Scenery James Cass from Palma Ceia’s Picture This team was also on hand as the show’s official photographer. The band consisted of Meekins, pianist Rick Barclay, Stan Martindale (guitar), Todd DuPriest (drums), Josh Hollenbeck and Elliott Domagola (sax) and Sean Carr. Diana Diaz designed the show “Grease”. India celebrates Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate its 75 years of independence and growth. There were freedom fighters from every corner of the country who fought with every breath against the colonial forces. Lives were taken and lives were given for the freedom of this country. History has recorded this brave two-decade-long struggle for independence. However, not all names and lives could be written down. India’s freedom struggle is incomplete without remembering all the people who led and participated in India’s swaraj and freedom. Through Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the government has tried to bring to light the names of unsung heroes for their patriotism, courage and determination. Here is a small list of lesser known freedom fighters ie our unsung heroes and their contribution to India’s independence.
Mohammad Ali was a journalist. He launched his famous weekly magazine, The Comrade, in English, which gained rapid expansion and influence. The comrade criticized the plight of Muslims worldwide and in India at the hands of the British. Vishnushastri Krushnashastri Chiplunkar was another unsung hero, a Marathi writer. He was the editor of many periodicals, the most influential of which was Nibandhmala. He keeps Marathi literature up-to-date and has produced and written various writings which were politically harsh to address various social injustices. Freedom fighter T. Prakasham was born in 1872 in Guntur district of present day Andhra Pradesh. He launched a newspaper called ‘Swarajya’ in three languages - English, Tamil and Telugu. The newspaper was a platform to express his basic politics. Hasrat Mohani’s name largely faded from the consciousness of the Indian freedom fighter, though his attitude and
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