A musical movie that first hit the screen when Jimmy Carter was president is coming to an Iowa stage this afternoon (Saturday) featuring one of the original heart-throbs. Frankie Avalon only had a cameo in the 1978 film “Grease” with the song “Beauty School Dropout.” Now he’s dropped in on the touring production to reprise his movie role as “Teen Angel.” From his home in Malibu, California, Avalon told Radio Iowa “It is a cameo because I do exactly what I did in the film, of course it’s live and it’s much more exciting watching it live than in a film, but I sing “Beauty School Dropout,” but the added (element) to it, is at the very end of the show on curtain calls, I come out and take my bow and tell the kids to sit down and I’ll do a little post-show.” It includes singing Avalon’s pair of number-one hits from 1959, “Venus” and “Why.” The film version of “Grease” became the top money-making musical film ever, surpassing even “The Sound of Music.” Most people have seen “Grease,” but Avalon says they continue coming back.He says “Once you like something, you’d like to see it again, but the people who come and see the show, there’s no surprises. They love the music. They know what the songs are, they love the characters. I’ll betcha’ everybody who comes to see the show has seen the motion picture at least ten times.” Avalon says he prefers to do the stage shows, as opposed to shooting T-V or film. Anytime you’re performing live, it’s better because you get to do it from beginning to end “right now,” he says, instead of doing a scene for 30 seconds and then waiting around to do it again.Avalon shot dozens of films in his teen idol days of the 1960s. Now he’s in his mid-60s with eight children and umpteen grandkids and does “Grease” in about a dozen cities a year. The show runs twice today (Saturday 4/16) at 2 and 8 PM and twice tomorrow (Sunday 4/17) at 1 and 6:30 PM at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines.
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