Kylie Abucay | Photo by M. Kitaoka

ONE of the iconic musicals of our time — both onstage and film — is the “Grease,” a story of Rydell High’s senior class of 1959.   Many of us have been entertained by the Pink Ladies, “greasers” and the love story of good girl Sandy and bad boy Danny Zuko.  Much more, the songs “Summer Nights” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” still are popular today.

Broadway By the Bay has brought the look and sound of this 1950s musical, and will have its last run this weekend at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City.

Playing the female lead role of Sandy is Filipino American Kylie Abucay, who is also a Bay Area native, having been born in Burlingame. Sharing that her love for performing started when she was young, Kylie said that she was initially drawn to ballet dancing rather than acting.

Kylie Abucay (center) as Sandy in Broadway By the Bay’s production of “Grease.” | Photo by M. Kitaoka

“I feel like performing has always been an important part of my life. I think my family knew I had to be on stage when I would nonstop watch ‘Cinderella’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ and reenact the scenes and songs with costumes and props, all at two years old,” she said.  “Since then, I took lots of different performing arts classes and focused on dance for 11 years. I was convinced I wanted to be a prima ballerina for the longest time, but I think the switch for me happened when I watched ‘The Addams Family’ on Broadway when I went to New York for a dance competition.  I looked at Wednesday Addams and thought, “I could totally do that!” I quit ballet lessons at 14 years old and did a lot of theatre in high school, which is when I realized how much I loved being an actress.”

When she auditioned for the role of “Sandy,” Kylie didn’t have enough confidence and thought she wouldn’t get the part.  “Preparing for this role, I had to push myself a lot vocally and I have so many people to thank for that (thanking Alicia Jeffrey, Alissa Deeter, Daniel Lloyd Pias, and Katie Kerwin-Gielniak). Another thing I had to work on for this role was my confidence,” she explained.

Now with that confidence all up — as shown in her performances — Kylie gives this advice to other aspiring young artists and people of color who may find that they may not fit the typical role:  Put your best foot forward.

“I think that young artists looking to break into stage/acting should go for it and go 110 percent! Take classes, get experience, get inspiration, audition- but do it all full force! I think if I could go back in time, I would dedicate more time to my craft and get more experience on stage,” Kylie said.

“Grease” will have its last weekend with shows on Saturday, June 22 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 23, at 2:30 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City.  For tickets, visit broadwaybythebay.org.

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