Norwich girl lives the Grease dream
PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 December 2011
Grease is the word for Life Matters reader Rowan Lee-Foyster who gets a Pink Lady makeover as Grease the musical comes to Norwich. By EMMA HARROWING.
It is every Grease fan’s dream to put on the iconic Pink Lady bomber jacket and ooze the glamour and style of the 1950s ‘in’ crowd.
So when news that the wardrobe department at the Theatre Royal would open it’s doors for Life Matters for a couple of hours, just as the hit broadway show comes to Norwich, we just couldn’t resist a bit of dressing up fun.
Life Matters treated reader Rowan Lee-Foyster from Norwich to a trip behind the scenes at the theatre where she had a Pink Lady makeover.
“I have watched the film Grease but I have never seen the stage show,” says 20 year old Rowan. “I know the story though, and cannot wait to get a makeover myself by getting the look of a Pink Lady.”
Rowan gets the look of one of the main characters in the musical - Frenchy - the squeaky-voiced Pink Lady who leaves high school to go to beauty school, only to drop out after she fails miserably in all of her classes. Frenchy is also fundamental to the main character Sandy getting a dramatic makeover, which cements her love for T.Bird Danny.
It’s now time for Frenchy herself to get a bit of a makeover with Rowan playing the lead role.
Lauren Stroud plays Frenchy in the musical version of the film which is currently showing at the Theatre Royal alongside X-Factor finalist Rhydian who plays Teen Angel.
Says Lauren: “Playing Frenchy is a lot of fun especially as she constantly changes her hair colour throughout the show!”
Frenchy goes from ginger to blonde to a shocking shade of pink, as the beauty school wannabe constantly experiments with her look.
To make sure that her and the other Pink Ladies’ hair looks its best throughout the performance is a tricky task especially as 50s jiving and rock ‘n’ roll sequences get the girls in a spin. It’s down to wig master Chris Coles to style the different wigs and make sure that they do not fall off mid-performance.
Says Chris: “Styling a wig is a bit like styling hair, but of course with a wig you can be a little bit rougher. Frency’s wigs are a lot of fun to style as she has an array of different colours. Apart of Sandy who has two wigs, the other girls have just one which is styled into a ponytail or left loose between each scene.”
Chris has been working with wigs for eight years, training on the job and completing a seven week course which gave him a professional qualification.
Before the cast members arrive in the wig room they have prepped their hair by creating pin curls all over their head and covering up with a hair stocking ready to be fitted with their wig.
With her hair hanging loose the first part of Rowan’s Pink Lady makeover is for her hair to be prepped. Chris works with lightening speed to twist Rowan’s mid-length hair into loose pin curls. Then, once all her head is covered, he pins on a stocking. Rowan is ready for her wig.
“The reason we pin curl the hair before the wig is put on is so that the wig stays in place throughout the performance,” says Chris.
“Each pin curl acts as an anchor for the wig to attach to. This is especially important as with the high-energy dance routines in the show you don’t want the wig to slip off.”
Chris chooses Frenchy’s show-stopping pink wig for Rowan. The wig is styled in an 50s inspired primly waved bob, with hair curled at the ends and pinned up to to create a shorter style.
With the wig in place Rowan just needs one more item to transform her look into that of a cool Pink Lady - the infamous jacket.
Says Rowan: “I’ve had such fun going behind the scenes at the theatre and meeting some of the cast. I love the wig and wish that I could have pink hair everyday from now on! It has been amazing finding out how to pin curl my hair, although I’m amazed that the cast members do this themselves before going to the wig room as I don’t think that I could create these curls myself.
“The best thing about my makeover is wearing the offical Pink Lady jacket - it makes me feel like one of the gang!”
Grease is on at the Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday December 3.
Find out how to get a 1950s inspired look today by clicking on our ‘Get the Look’ photo gallery at the top right hand side of this page.