Senior wide receiver Pat Meggers, a New England Football Conference (NEFC) Bogan Division first team selection at wide receiver this past season will be playing the lead role of Danny Zuko in the Academy performance of GREASE this weekend on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Leamy Hall Auditorium.
Meggers, who a had 42 receptions while leading the team with 746 yards and seven touchdowns this season, also set a pair of school records this year with a 96-yard touchdown reception, the longest in school history and a single-game record 211 receiving yards.
We caught up with Pat earlier this week to discuss his role in the play, football, acting and several other things leading up to his performance.
How did you become involved in this performance? Is this your first play at the Academy? If not, tell us about your other performances.
This is my first show at the Academy. I got done with football and kind of said to myself, "what now?" I had a lot of time to fill, and I didn't think it best to spend it down at Mr. G's or in my bed so I figured, "what the heck." I figured the musical could benefit from some new energy and I possibly drag some new people down to the theater who are interested in laughing at me up on the stage. CDR Heller was nice enough to give me a shot at the lead and the rest is history ... let's just hope not bad history.
When and how did you first become involved in theatre?
Well I went to boarding school up in Windsor at Loomis Chaffee, and they offered some acting classes with a really cool teacher, so i said, "Why take an elective with actual work when I can go have fun learning how to act?" Truth be-told, it was harder than it looked, but I had a lot of fun and it was a fond memory of high school. Also, my mom eats this stuff up ... she was doing talent shows at my elementary school since I was in kindergarten and she can't get enough of it. I heard she bought more tickets to this show than she got for the whole football season combined ... just a rumor.
How is acting in an Academy play similar/different from playing football?
Well, if you have ever analyzed Offensive Coordinator Ray Laforte's playbook, you would have a hard time really comparing the complexity of anything else to it. The guy is an x's and o's maniac and we all try to get on his mental level with it, but it was always hard for me, as he has reminded me several times. But acting and being in a production here brings different challenges; it's not just memorizing lines or having charisma, it is getting everyone on board to do something great. Exactly like football in this regard. We are all counting on each other to go out there and really do what we have to do, and hopefully make it something worth watching. Not to mention, we have had two months to put together Grease, and to be honest, I was nervous up until last week. We got it done, though; people here have a knack for that.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of preparing for the show?
I think meeting new people I really haven't hung out with before. There are some great people in the show and we have had a lot of fun together. Also, I'm not going to lie, it was pretty fun surprising some people with some of my talents. I think I even surprised myself with some of the stuff that I could do. I've never sung anything in front of anybody but my shower-handle, and people have said that I'm not actually all that terrible so that got me pretty pumped up!
Who is the tougher coach/director, Coach George or LCDR Heller and why?
This is a tough one ... While I would pay money to see Coach George behind the stage ... I think these are different animals. LCDR Heller has a passion for what he does, just as Coach George does, and, ultimately, they are both vested in first developing us as officers and people before actors and football players. I have had a few choice words from Coach George when I didn't do something right or my best, however, I haven't ever gotten that from Mr. Heller. He's all about the love, but, behind that grey crew-cut and all-business demeanor ... we all know Coach George is too.
How does your pregame football routine and mindset differ from that of your preparation before a performance in the play?
Well, I'll be honest here. Unlike some of my teammates, I never really had a pre-game routine in football. Mark Bonner game me some bands during the Fitchburg game and then Jon Resch and I went out and had a pretty good day, safe to say I wore those the rest of the season but that was about it. I always liked to be very loose going into a game and it the same thing with the show. I never like to psych myself up, I want to play natural and loose. You'll find me laughing and joking behind stage just as if I was in the locker room before a game. I just see no point to build up the pressure and the hype.
What is more satisfying, scoring a touchdown or having a flawless performance on stage?
Well the problem with theater is this, YOU can think you had a flawless performance on the stage, but there are some people in the crowd that are more-than-likely going to think that they should get their money back and you are the worst thing since Nicholas Cage. When you score a touchdown, it's a touchdown, no one is going to take that away from you. You have to have tough skin in both industries. I won't be satisfied until the Tony award.
Do you have any funny stories that stemmed from rehearsals?
Not really, it's just that Grease is a really old show, so when you read the script there are things in there that are pretty hilarious, so we all started talking in that language. No, Sandy and I didn't fall in love, nor did I grow my hair out to look ridiculous enough for the part … oh wait.
Who is cooler Danny Zuko or Pat Meggers and why?
I knew this one was coming. You see, Danny Zuko doesn't WANT to be cool. He just is ... same with me, ya know? Danny is also a real emotional guy down at the center. He can really connect with his feelings. and I've been told that I may seem like a large guy, but I'm really just a teddy bear. The problem here is, Danny just is not a good athlete. I don't think Danny could guard me on the football field, so I got him there, but he also can get a girl by not even paying attention to her, a trait I wouldn't necessarily hate having. This is just a really tough question.
Who dresses better Danny Zuko or Pat Meggers?
Are you kidding me? They got half my costumes for this show at goodwill. Anyone who has seen me out knows the answer to that question. Oh and I don't do leather.
Who would play you in a story about your life at the Coast Guard Academy?
Wow, hmm, another toughie. I've gotten look-a-likes comparable to Channing Tatum, Rob Gronkowski, and Gerard Butler soo … let's peel away this onion. Channing Tatum is doing male stripper movies now … no thanks. Rob Gronkowski can't act, nor stay healthy for a full season, not to mention the fact he can't go to a nightclub without getting a video taken of him making a fool of himself., so he's out. I guess it leaves Gerard Butler … I mean I do love him in "P.S. I Love You."
For ticket information to GREASE this weekend call (860) 444-8472 or email AnneMarie.Austin@uscga.edu.