If your memory needs a jolt, Frankie began with a string of pop hits in the late 1950 to early 60s, most notably “Venus.” As his music career was winding down, his movie career began winding up. He appeared in quite a few movies in the 60s, though he is mostly remembered for his string of “Beach Party” movies with Annette Funicello, e.g., Beach Blanket Bingo. Nowadays, if someone thinks of Frankie Avalon, I suppose they are more likely to think of his cameo in the 1978 film Grease, in which he played the Teen Angel and sang “Beauty School Dropout.”
Be assured that he sings “Beauty School Dropout” as part of his appearance in TnT. In fact, while he sings a bunch of songs in his two sets, BSD is the one in which he is accompanied by our choreographed bridesmaids, each of whom is attired in a beauty parlor smock and utilizes a hand mirror and can of hairspray, all in time to the music.
For we who comprise the regular cast, Frankie Week is a happy and exciting time for several reasons:
— We have added shows, which means more money for us. Yay!
— The audiences are terrific. Some people think that the audiences this week are here just for Frankie, and that they couldn’t care less about the rest of the show. While there are some who feel that way, the greater portion of them are in fact very tuned into the whole show, and it’s a pleasure to perform for people who are following the action so closely.
— Everything gets fixed! Y’see, little things get broken/lost/shabby/etc. in the course of the year. If it’s an essential prop, costume, or set piece, it gets fixed or replaced right away. But right before Frankie Week, everything gets taken care of. So even if you’re not going to attend during Frankie Week, the best time to see it from a technical standpoint is probably right after Frankie Week!
— For those of us who’ve been in the show for a while, it’s a chance to see some wonderful faces from the past. For starters, the band comes back to accompany Frankie. TnT was performed with a live band for the first 11 years of its run, but they were replaced by a DJ three years ago. So it’s great to see Dez, Nancy, Patrick, Carlos, Mike, Nate, and Craig again. Also, we have a few cast alumni who’ve been called back just for Frankie Week – Pasquale D. is our Tony, Joe G. is Tina’s Uncle Lui, and Matt V. is Tina’s gay brother Joey. No disrespect to our regular cast members, but these guys are a treat to have around!
I’ll be toting my camera along some nights this week, so I may end up with some pix to post.