This I Believe

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
teh second one...

Submitted: July 16, 2007

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Submitted: July 16, 2007

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I believe that goodbyes aren’t forever, that even though you may go your separate ways, you never really part completely.

Spring 2006.

I waved goodbye to my mom as I headed into the college for the final night of Grease. I soon found myself once more in a conversation with the tech crew, the few people who got there earlier than I did.  I was one of the first actors there, only Megan McKenna seemed to be able beat me there.  As I took my costume down from the rack, I heard Megan put in her Queen CD and “Another One Bites the Dust” started to play. I entered the guys’ changing room where Adam Brinkman, already in costume, was lubing up in preparation for make-up, and changed into the blue jeans and white shirt of a Thunderbird.  As I walked into the make-up room, I found that the girls had taken it over for their changing room.  When I asked which base I should use, I was seized by one of the Pink Ladies and sat down in a chair.

I could feel the tension in the air as I returned to the guys’ room to get in line to get my hair styled by the all-powerful Harvey.  Dave Johnson and Andrew Malovrh were dancing as they waited for Harvey to finish with Kerry Schanno.  I knew Alex Rozier had just arrived because you could hear him singing through the door, down the hall, and around the corner.  Next thing you know, the entire male part of the cast had joined in and we were all singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Will you be My Girl,” “Stand by Me,” and half of the Queen songs that were coming from the make-up room.

When we had all been made stage-ready, we headed into the warm-up room.  TO do this, we had to cross a hallway that invariably involved us causing a traffic jam.  Mr. L was waiting at the piano, and I headed to the top row to stand next between Dan Skarrup and Noah Gettle.  We sang a couple of tongue twisters and finished off with “The King of Love.”

When we finished our warm-ups, we all joined hands in the customary prayer circle.  You could feel the excitement and apprehension running through the persons next to you. As I looked around the room, I saw the many new friends that I had made. I remember when I had walked into the auditions; I had only known three people in the entire theater.  But now I new every single person in the circle, and had become very good friends with nearly all of them.  One of the seniors, those who would most likely never be part of a musical with the rest of us ever again, started the prayer.

“Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the friends we have made, and the times that we have shared, both good and bad.  We know that the road has been rough and there have been some mess-ups, but you always seem to help us pull it off somehow.  Tonight is the last performance, so lets really give them a show tonight.”

“Amen” ran through the circle along with hand-squeezes that would have made Adam Brinkman call, “Hand Check!” if it hadn’t been the final night.

I walked onto the stage with what had become my family.  The Greasers, in their leather and denim, were followed by a plethora of folks in suits and dresses.  As we took our places on stage, the standard voices were heard:

“Good Luck!”

“Thanks.”

“I gotta go pee!”

“Just hold it!”

And then from behind a curtain, the voice of a techie, “Shut up, the house is open.”

When the curtain rose, I felt a churning in my stomach that probably had nothing to do with the meal of tacos that I had had before the play.  I wished Noah and Jess Meier, who were standing next to me, good luck for the last time, and then froze as I heard Gritzmacher’s voice announcing the start of the play.

The curtain rose, and the play began.

As the first act went on I noticed that, even though the energy level was as high as it had ever been, each time a scene ended there was a sad smile on each of the actors’ faces.  When it came to my solo/duet with Noah, we sang it nearly perfect.  Each time before, we had missed a spot, but by some magic, we hit it that night.

When intermission came, and we raced out through the audience, we received a standing ovation.  We hurried into our tuxes, and, every once and awhile, another person would realize that this was it: the last time.

The dance scene, wonderfully choreographed and executed, seemed to zip by.  Then it was my favorite scene, where Noah, Kenickie, and I teamed up to defend our territory from a rival gang.  The smoke machine went off early, and we barely got off before the “wee-wee-wee” sent smoke rolling out onto the stage for “Beauty School Dropout.”

When Megan sang “Goodbye to Sandra Dee” in the second to last scene, the customary line of guys formed to watch, stare, and get all the girls in the wings angry as heck with us.

Then came the last scene, with the awful line about the Mickey Mouse Club.  The last song came up, and we gave it our all.  We poured our hearts and souls into that song, and when it ended, we all felt an emptiness.

The last lines had been said, curtain call was done, and bows had been taken.  We streamed out into the lobby, and hugs were exchanged.  I don’t even want to guess how many pictures were taken that night.

Afterwards we headed off to VI for the customary after-play party and, after a conga line, we said our goodbyes.  Half off the cast was going off to college, so it was up to the rest of us to fill their shoes next year.

I felt the sadness that was surrounding this parting of ways, but I knew that I would see at least some of these people again.

Whitney, who had played Frenchie, applied at target.  Adam Brinkman has come to many of the plays the Mesabi College has put on.  Andrew Malovrh came to choir concerts and Gregg Helland, or Kenickie, continued to be in plays at the college.

Despite the many farewells that we each say during our lives, it doesn’t have to be goodbye. We can stay in touch, whether by email, letter, or phone.  When you are in something with such as big of a cast as Grease did, you can’t help but want to be part of it.  You become part of a family, and you can never really say goodbye to your family.


© Copyright 2017 Landin Johnson. All rights reserved.

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