The email read, “Rain or shine we are going live.” I looked outside my window and contemplated how they were going to pull it off, since the weather forecasts claimed it was going to be raining 100% that day and some of the sets were situated outside.
The email contained the tickets for the show that my sisters and I were going watch– Grease: Live. For those of you, who like me might not be familiar with Grease let me give you a quick overview. The original 1978 film starred Olivia Newton John and John Travolta as the leads. The film takes place in the 1950’s and is about two teens Danny Zuko and Sandy Olson who meet over the summer, and try to rekindle their romance as the school year begins. However, Danny’s reputation as the bad boy and as a greaser (a wild youth who always had a greased back hairstyle—in case you didn’t know either!) is what keeps him from being with preppy good girl Sandy. All the while the film deals with issues like politics, peer pressure and teenage pregnancy. By the end of the film (spoiler alert!), Danny and Sandy end up together, with Sandy undergoing a transformation from a preppy school girl to wearing black leather clothes. What my sisters and I were about to watch was the televised live adaption with actors Julianne Hough playing the role as Sandy Young and Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko as well as other noteworthy stars like Vanessa Hudgens, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Jordan Fisher. Musical guests included Jessie J, DNCE and Joe Jonas as well as Boyz II Men.
We were told by “On Camera Audiences” which is a company that sells free TV tickets and gives people the chance to participate in a live studio audience setting, to arrive early before show time. So my sisters and I hit the 210 Freeway en route to the Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank. Getting the chance to be on set as a live studio audience isn’t always promising, it actually has some cutbacks to it. It’s not always easy to get tickets, there are times when you might have to be put on the waitlist. Moreover, you could be standing in line for 2 hours before show time starts, only to be told at the end that seats were filled in the studio and that it was in a first come first serve basis. Luckily the tickets that we got were priority tickets, so it was a guarantee that we would get in. We had just gotten off the 134 Freeway, when my sister’s stomach starts growling, and we have to make a quick stop to get some lunch before heading to the set.
When we arrived at the studio, we were given wristbands, then proceeded through security check, and were told to wait 2 hours before they actually let us in the studio. As I sat there, I saw people from different ages wearing different styles of clothing. A group of older ladies were behind me, donning their pink lady attire, and right next to me was a young looking couple donning outfits that were similar to the lead characters. Groups of teenage girls were wearing leather jackets, hoop earrings and red lipstick.
Now even though it hardly rains in Los Angeles, that day “El Niño” (well at least it seems like a hurricane to us residents of La la land) was predicted to hit. After the 2 hours had passed, we were handed ponchos just in case we needed them—because who even is prepared for the rain here in LA?
Walking into the Warner Brother’s Studio was quite interesting. We were told that the Warner Brother’s Studio has 30 stages and has been used for a myriad of different shows such as Gilmore Girls, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and Ellen DeGeneres to name a few. In just 30 minutes we were going to see the live performance of Grease Live. At first it was a bit difficult to see from where we were standing, due to the fact that there were a group of Navy members in front of us, that were currently stationed at the time in San Diego. Right before show time, started droplets of rain started hitting my face, only to look up and realize that it had begun to rain. I proceed to put on my poncho, as cameras started rolling. They moved us to stage 23 where one of the scenes were going to be filmed. To my astonishment, we see a performance from Keke Palmer and Carly Rae Jepsen, but shortly after we are told to watch a screen that the crew had put right in front of us.
The show lasted about 3 hours as a whole—most of which we spent watching on a television screen because the set I was chosen for was only used for a short scene. When it came to the last scene, they asked that all audience members follow the crew outside to another stage. Then, right in front of me walks Joe Jonas and the DNCE crew–you bet twelve-year-old me remerged and I totally fangirled just a little, as a wave of nostalgia washed over me and I began to recall several of my favorite Jonas Brother songs! The walk to the other stage took a while as we were following a throng of people. Little did I realize that I would be walking onto a very familiar set.
I’m filled with bewilderment as I take in the view around me, I realized that the place that my eyes had settled upon, was in fact eerily familiar. It took a while before it hit me, that my feet had just strolled upon Stars Hallow home to Rory and Lorelai Gilmore, characters from a show called Gilmore Girls that deals with their lives as they live in the fictional town of Stars Hallow. Right from where they told us to stand, I realized that Luke’s Diner was right across, and can’t help but have a debate with my sisters, as to whether this really was Stars Hallow or not.
The final scene of Grease: Live comes to a close, and the audience members are allowed to dance with the actors, within close proximity, or as close as the security guards would let us. After the herd of people started to leave, I asked one of the production team, if that is in fact the Luke’s Diner from Gilmore Girls. The production assistant, went on to reassure me, that it was indeed, and that filming for the Gilmore Girls: Revival would begin next week. Of course, you could imagine, more fangirling ensued among my sisters and I, as we begin to make a plan that we should get tickets to come back next week for a complete tour of the studios.
After a long and tiring day, we head back home and are quite content with how our day turned out. Though Los Angeles is notoriously known for fame, fortune, following your dreams, and celebrities it can be full of surprises and new discoveries. One in which every turn can be unexpected, never knowing who you might run into, or what you might find.