The 95th Triangle show revolves around the pursuit of leisure.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.
Brooke Shields ‘87 boosts Triangle’s ticket sales...

Along with the traditional male kickline, rousing dance numbers, poignant ballads, and unbridled enthusiasm, this year’s Triangle show, Revel Without a Pause, has a sure-fire draw–Brooke Shields ‘87. Though she does not have a starring role, Shield’s mere presence has brought the club more publicity than it has enjoyed in many a moon.

Brooke as “typical” student.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.
Since her arrival at Princeton, photographers have been denied access to Shields. On campus she apparently leads a relatively normal student life, carrying a full load of courses and attending a few parties. She has, however, managed to stay in the news–traveling with Bob Hope on his Christmas Tour, accompanying singer Michael Jackson to celebrity functions, appearing on TV specials, and still making the fashion magazines. In fact, Shields has been so much in the news that people ask when she finds time to study. She retorts that it’s no harder for her to meet career commitments than it is for her friends to participate in sports. Reports that she’s getting A’s and B’s may even add to her celebrity status. In any case, when word got out that Shields would be in the Triangle show, McCarter Theatre got a rush.

According to Triangle’s graduate treasures, William W. Lockwood ‘59, calls from the press just kept coming and sales were up–so much so that Triangle added a Saturday matinee to its Houseparties Weekend run, making six performances in all. “It’s the first time I can ever recall our adding an extra performance,” said Lockwood. With the consent of Shield’s mother, the press was permitted to attend a one-hour preview, held before the dress rehearsal. (Mrs. Shields has the final word on all matters pertaining to her daughter’s career. The pictures taken by Triangle’s photographer were first submitted to her, and only the shots of Shields that she approved were released for publication.)

Brooke as “typical” student.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.
At the preview, the Triangle cast performed two numbers—the kickline and a skit featuring Shields. Cameramen from three television networks were on hand, along with a local cable TV crew (the only one to “roll ‘em” for the kickline) and a host of newspaper reporters. Next to Shields, the most notable personality present was film critic Gene Shalit, who quipped that the real show was the jostling among the TV cameramen. Shalit, of course, could stand above the fray, having been granted an exclusive interview, which took place after the session for the rest of the press. It was aired on the Today show the following morning.

Shield‘s main number is “Spiller” (above), a parody of Michael Jackson’s hit video “Thriller”, in which she and her date are victims of a waiter who spills food and drinks on his customers.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.
When Shalit asked Shields how long it had taken for her and her classmates to feel at ease with each other, she replied: “The first term, I think. They were just so afraid of being too forward…no one was talking to me. So I had to make almost an extra effort to just prove to them that I really wanted to be a friend and that I was there with everybody else.” As a result, Shields said, she was quite unhappy at Princeton in the beginning: “I cried every night. I called my mom five times a day. Just after every class I’d say, ‘I’ve got to leave, I can’t take it, I want to go home.’ It was just so devastating to me.”

Shields found that the men were less hesitant to approach her than the women, and that unlike high school she could have a friendship with a man without people immediately imagining a romance. At some point, she realized that she would have to take the initiative with women, and once she did she had

no difficulty making friends. Recently one of her best friends confessed that if Shields hadn’t made the first move, they probably never would have gotten to know each other.

Shields also talked to Shalit about making the Triangle show, which seems to have been more traumatic than making a movie. When a friend suggested she try out, Shields was at first reluctant. “I will be so nervous, so petrified,” she recalled saying. “I might not get in, and I’d feel terrible.” Competing with 200 of her peers was a new experience, and she appears to have been as excited as any other freshman auditioner when she saw her name posted on the list of callbacks. “They didn’t post the names for two or three days. We were all saying how we weren’t going to make it, how we were never going to get callbacks. So when we did we were just as excited….I was very worried that I wasn’t going to be in it.”

Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.
Later she learned that the casting directors were especially concerned about her audition. “They said, ‘If we let her in and she’s not good, then everybody is going to say we let her in because she’s Brooke’.” Shields had been unsuccessful in her earlier bids to join some campus singing groups, and that may well have added to her worry about making Triangle.

Though she garnered the lion’s share of publicity, Shields was, for the most part, just another trouper. Triangle writers did manage to build a joke around her. The story line is that two Russian spies come to the U.S. to learn the secret of American humor. They run into Shields and ask her if she is the typical American student. “I guess so,” she deadpans. “I’m taking 17 units.”

The all-male drag kickline makes its first appearance as a collection of Barbie dolls.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.
Shields said she was impressed with the level of professionalism at Triangle. She told Shalit they spent 12 hours one day just blocking and making cues. Though that was exhausting in itself, the idea of working with such a big group and the possibility of getting dressed down in front of her peers struck her as particularly daunting.

All the performances, including the Saturday matinee, were sellouts. And if some of the audience came especially to see Shields, they left impressed with the company. The two big dance numbers were impressive. The drag kickline first appeared in a variety of Barbie Doll outfits, and Phillip Ricks ‘85 as Ballerina Barbie managed to dance on point. Shields was featured in “Spiller,” a parody of Michael Jackson’s hit video “Thriller.” In that number, she and others are victims of a malevolent waiter who spills food and drinks on the patrons of a nightclub called “Chez, Chez, Chez.”

Revel Without a Pause will be performed on Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, of Reunions weekend. Tickets are available at the McCarter Theatre box office (609-452-5200). –M.M.K.

Psychoanalysis at the “I’m O.K. You’re O.K. Corral”
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.

Barbie as a ballerina.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.

THe “Leisure for a Living” crowd working out for relaxation.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.

Announcers give play-by-play analysis of couple on their first date.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.

Once more with feeling: the perennial kickline remains stunning even when slightly out of synch.
Princeton Alumni Weekly. May 16, 1984.


This was originally published in the May 16, 1984 issue of PAW.