The show must go on
From the get-go, theater talents are trained to live by the motto and mantra, “The show must go on.” Against all odds, despite illness, accident, disasters, breakups and emotional breakdowns and even the sudden demise of a loved one, performers have to show up as scheduled, and give the performance of their lives.
Some less than totally committed actors have failed to live up to that no-exceptions pledge and responsibility, but others have heroically and selflessly stepped up to the plate, winning the admiration of both viewers and colleagues.
The latest star to garner plaudits for her selfless and unshrinking professionalism is Filipino-American talent Vanessa Hudgens.
Early last month, she was rehearsing intensively to play Rizzo in Fox’s live TV staging of the hit musical, “Grease: Live.”
Then, just the day before the much-awaited telecast, Vanessa’s father passed away. What would she do? Did she have an understudy who would be speedily prepped to sub for her, so she could grieve for her departed dad?
There may have been an understudy waiting in the wings, but for Vanessa, “The show must go on” wasn’t just a theater and show biz nicety, it was a pledge to live by—and actualize.
Clamping down on her grief and tears, she focused on giving her very best performance—and she did!
Reviewers raved about her standout portrayal as Rizzo, and the role has been cited as a high point in her career, even if it wasn’t a lead character.
Speaking of Vanessa’s career, she’s best known for her participation in the “High School Musical” series. After that, she gave musical theater a go and won plaudits for her performance in the screen musical-comedy, “Bandslam.” She then played Mimi in “Rent” onstage.
On the big screen, she was featured in “Beastly,” “Sucker Punch,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” “Spring Breakers,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Freaks of Nature” and “The Frozen Ground.” In 2015, Vanessa went back to musical theater, playing no less than the title role in “Gigi.”
Vanessa’s career may have had its ups and downs, but she’s emerged as one of “young Hollywood’s” more promising comers.
In 2014, she won the industry’s Trendsetter Award, and has a number of Teen Choice, Young Artist, Breakthrough Performance, ShoWest, People’s Choice, Kids’ Choice and MTV Movie Awards nominations and victories to her name.
Fox’s recent production of “Grease: Live” was faulted for its weak lead players, but raves went to its supporting cast, including Vanessa as Rizzo, who was praised for her “great rendition” of her solo songs and parts.
As for the death of her father, Greg, Vanessa was lauded for her decision to honor him by going on with her standout performance on Fox’s musical special. And many netizens commiserated with her and hailed her “breathtaking performance” as Rizzo.
A theater colleague shared, “It was incredibly hard for her, but she’s a true entertainer—so it was on with the show!”
Our thoughts, exactly.