The Broadway Show In New York City that came from the hit TV show in Hollywood
Thirty-five years after its 1972 debut on Broadway, and almost 30 years since John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John starred in the popular 1978 film version, 'Grease' became the word once again, thanks to the Sunday night reality television show hosted by Billy Bush and Denise Van Outen. On NBC's Grease - You're The One That I Want, the producers and the creative team of the Broadway revival of the classic American musical Grease, held auditions to cast the show's main characters, Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski (a popular BBC show, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, used the same method to cast the lead for a London production of The Sound of Music). The series began with Bush and Van Outen making open calls around the country asking for people to come and audition. They started in Las Vegas, then Chicago, Los Angeles, and finally New York City. From these open auditions, 50 talented performers were selected.
Grease vs. American Idol
Grease - You're the One That I Want is quite clearly modeled after the Fox network's mega-hit talent contest American Idol, with co-producer David Ian, Grease co-author Jim Jacobs, and director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall serving as judges of the wannabe Broadway-babies auditions, doling out compliments for the talented actor/singers and scathing critiques for the tone deaf hopefuls. American Idol fans may relate Ian, Jacobs, and Marshall as the rough equivalent of, Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul, respectively and Billy Bush and Denise Van Outen playing the role of Ryan Seacrest. In a move that further blurred the lines between American Idol and Grease - You're the One That I Want, Olivia Newton-John made guest appearances on both programs in the same week.
Unlike American Idol, both amateur performers and theater professionals alike are permitted to audition for Grease - You're the One That I Want, so starry-eyed newbies have some pretty stiff competition with actors such as Austin Miller and Juliana Hansen (both of whom have done national tours of Broadway shows) in the mix.
How the Show Worked
In the show those who made the cut from the nationwide auditions, move on to what was termed 'The Grease Academy', where Kathleen Marshall and other professional coaches work with the performers on their dancing, acting, and singing skills. The top 12 graduates from The Grease Academy then perform in a series of live episodes, with contestants being voted off each night until only one Danny and one Sandy remain. Former Grease performers (from both the stage and film versions of the musical) acting as guest judges and commentators on Grease - You're the One That I Want include Barry Bostwick, Jeff Conaway, Adrian Zmed, Marilu Henner, and Lucy Lawless.
Kathleen Marshall, one of the judges on Grease - You're The One That I Want, is keen to remind the television viewing audience that this TV show is not out to find raw talent, but it is in fact an open casting call, where it is expected that the trained professionals will fare much better as they already can sing, dance, and act and will not need instruction in their craft.
The Broadway Revival
For the few people who haven't already seen the movie or a local high school production of Grease, the musical takes place in the 1950's and is about Danny, the classic bad boy, and Sandy, the classic good girl who falls for him. Grease's score features numerous well-known tunes, including Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin, Those Magic Changes, Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee, Since I Don't Have You, We Go Together, Hopelessly Devoted to You and (of course) the show's title, You're The One That I Want (the last two of which were written specifically for the film version of Grease).
Grease was previously revived on Broadway in a production, which ran from 1994 to 1998 and famously had a revolving door of A-list starts, including Rosie O'Donnell, Linda Blair, Debby Boone, Mickey Dolenz, Sheena Easton, Debbie Gibson, Lucy Lawless, Brooke Shields, and Sally Struthers. Broadway tickets to that production of Grease dwindled in 1998 and resulted in the show closing. Grease failed to embed itself as a mainstay on the Broadway stage, something that Rent, The Lion King and the Chicago revival have all succeeded in.
Show Dates and Predictions
This Broadway production of Grease, headlined by the winners of Grease - You're The One That I Want, is set to begin previews on July 24th 2007 and the official Broadway show opening is scheduled to be on August 16th, 2007.
Due to its TV exposure, Broadway Grease tickets sell very well. Grease ticket sales closed the week of January 8th 2007 and sold exceedingly more than $1 million in advance ticket sales, which made it one of the most anticipated Broadway shows ever.