"The Feel-Good, Pick-Me-Up Musical" - Sunday Expess
Russell Grant, Mary Byrne and Rhydian Roberts will be the new stars of Grease for the next leg of its hugely successful UK tour. They will all don the sparkly suit to play the role of ‘Teen Angel' in the smash hit musical and will leave audiences hopelessly devoted to their charms from this July.
Strictly Come Dancing favourite Russell Grant will guest star for several dates including Newcastle (9-14 July), Llandudno, (6-11 Aug), Dartford (27 Aug- 1 Sept), Southsea (1-6 Oct), Manchester (8-13 Oct), Wimbledon (15-20 Oct) and Swansea (5-10 Nov ); singing sensation and X Factor star Mary Byrne play the role in Newcastle (3-7 July) and Eastbourne (20- 25 August) and blonde baritone Rhydian Roberts will star in Southend (30 Jul- 4 Aug ) and Bournemouth (13-18 Aug). See full tour list below- further casting to be announced.
Following its electrifyin' 4 year London run and for the first time in over 5 years, the hit West End show began a new tour last spring. Back by popular demand, Grease premiered at the Edinburgh Playhouse on 6 May 2011 and has since played venues throughout the UK and Ireland. Grease will continue to rock ‘n' roll around the UK from 3 July and is currently booking until 29 December 2012.
Danny Bayne (winner of ITV's Grease is the Word, Hairspray )stars as ‘Danny' with Carina Gillespie (Grease in the West End, Buddy) as his sweetheart ‘Sandy', as the couple follow in the footsteps of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John who famously played the roles in the hit 1978 movie. The cast also includes: Kate Somerset How (‘Rizzo'), David O'Reilly (‘Roger'), Laura Wilson (‘Jan'), Richard Vincent (‘Doody'), Josh Dever (‘Sonny'), Darren John (‘Eugene'), Stuart Reid (‘Vince Fontaine') and joining the show from 3 July, Ross William Wild (‘Kenickie'), Lauren Hood (‘Frenchy'), Scarlett Davies (‘Marty'), Charlotte Gooch (‘Patty'), Emma Kingston ‘(Miss Lynch') and Emily Hawgood (‘Cha Cha') with other parts played by the ensemble.
Russell Grant found international fame through becoming the Astrologer Royal but before this he had a successful acting career in theatre, television and film (TV's On the Buses, Please Sir! and The Fenn Street Gang, Rodger and Hammerstein's The King and I on tour, Tom Brown's Schooldays in the West End, Hans Anderson at the London Palladium, Pantomimes in Cardiff, Guildford and Blackpool as the ‘Dame', Paul Doust's Probably Wanstead at the Brighton Festival, The Rocky Horror Show national tour and Under Milk Wood- for which he won critical acclaim as Director and ‘Narrator'). He recently captured the attention of the nation- as an unlikely contender- and fulfilled his professional dream of learning how to dance on BBC's hit series Strictly Come Dancing (Autumn 2011). Returning to his theatrical roots, Russell has just completed a successful season as ‘The Wizard' in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.
Mary Byrne shot to fame in 2010 after becoming a finalist on the seventh series of hit TV talent show The X Factor, where she won the hearts of millions with her big, warm personality and powerhouse voice. Following her elimination in the live semi-final, Mary signed a record deal with Sony Records and has since become one of Britain and Ireland's best-loved entertainers. Her debut album ‘Mine & Yours', released in March 2011, spent two weeks at the number one spot plus a further eight weeks in the top five of the Irish music charts. The album was produced by hit-maker Nigel Wright (Madonna, Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey). Her second album ‘...with Love', produced by legendary Irish singer, songwriter, musician and producer Phil Coulter, was released earlier this year and was also a top 10 hit in the music charts. Mary was honoured to perform for The Queen at a special show, celebrating Her Majesty's first state visit to Ireland and appeared as a special guest for one of her own idols, American singing legend Neil Diamond, in concert at his Aviva Stadium concert in Dublin (2011). She has also just completed a six night residency at Dublin's Olympia Theatre. Mary made her stage debut as ‘Teen Angel' in Grease at Dublin's Grand Canal Theatre in August 2011 and reprised the role for several dates of the show's tour earlier this year.
Classically trained Welsh singer Rhydian Roberts is best-known as a finalist on The X Factor (2007), where he captivated audiences with his powerful voice and passionate performances. Rhydian went on to sign a record deal with Sony BMG and whilst with the label, focused on classical crossover material. His debut album ‘Rhydian', released in 2008, went double platinum and the following year he completed a 27 date sell-out solo tour of the UK. His second album ‘O Fortuna', released in 2009, went Gold and was nominated at the Classical Brit Awards for Best Album of the year 2010. Rhydian has performed at arenas and concert venues around the country with some of the world's biggest artists including The Stereophonics, Celine Dion, Michael Bublé, Bryn Terfel and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and at major events including Andrew Lloyd Webber's 60th Birthday Party in Hyde Park (2008) and the opening ceremony for the Ryder Cup (2010). He appeared in The War of the Worlds (European tour 2010) and has also starred as ‘Khashoggi' in the musical We Will Rock You (UK tour). Rhydian's third album ‘Waves' and an album of Welsh classics were released last year and his own TV series was broadcast at the end of 2011. Rhydian made his debut in Grease last year and reprised the role for a limited 3 week season this spring.
Since breaking out on Broadway in 1972, Grease's place has been firmly established in the cultural Hall of Fame, having seduced the hearts of millions with its back-to-back sizzling tunes. It's the original high-school musical featuring everyone's favourite characters - ‘Sandy', ‘Danny', the groovy ‘T Birds', the sassy ‘Pink Ladies' and the whole gang at Rydell High - with all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including ‘You're The One That I Want', ‘Grease Is The Word', ‘Summer Nights', ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You', ‘Sandy', ‘Greased Lightnin'' and many more.
Voted the "No 1 Greatest Musical"* Grease has proved that a musical love story, bursting with denim, cheerleaders, slick hairstyles, rock 'n 'roll, 1950's pop culture and an irresistible mix of teenage angst and young romance is timeless and universal. Grease is the ultimate feel-good, pick-me up musical - an electrifyin' extravaganza, packed with fun, energy and vibrant physicality. The show is guaranteed to thrill audiences and leave everyone hand-jiving the night away with "a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop, a wop-bam-boom!"
Grease returned to the West End in July 2007 and during its triumphant run, the audience favourite played over 1,500 performances and was seen by over 1½ million theatregoers at the Piccadilly Theatre where it became the longest running show in the venue's history- closing on 30 April 2011 after a hugely successful 4 years.
This production originally opened in the West End in 1993 (co-produced with Robert Stigwood) where it enjoyed a fantastic run of 6 years. The last international tour of Grease was a phenomenal success, playing to sell-out audiences and smashing records at many venues. Since 1993 the show has been seen by audiences totalling over 12 million people in the UK alone. In 2010, a second production played internationally in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Auckland and Hong Kong.
Written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, directed by David Gilmore (Daisy Pulls It Off, Happy Days, Song & Dance, Footloose) and choreographed by Arlene Phillips (Starlight Express, Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance The Musical & BBC's Strictly Come Dancing), Grease is produced in the West End and on tour by Paul Nicholas and David Ian and is presented by arrangement with Robert Stigwood.