Grease Follows Kiss Me Kate into Victoria PalaceDate: 16 August 2002
Perennially popular 1950s-nostalgia musical Grease has confirmed its West End return (See The Goss, 24 Jul 02) and will follow Kiss Me Kate into the Victoria Palace. The Cole Porter musical finishes its run prematurely next week, on 24 August 2002. Grease will then open at the theatre on 1 October 2002 and continue to 1 March 2003 (previews from 26 September).
Premiered on Broadway in 1972, Grease was immortalised by the 1979 film that brought international fame to its co-stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Hit songs from the soundtrack include "You're the One That I Want", "Summer Lovin'", "Greased Lightning", "Hopeless Devoted to You" and the title song.
The musical previously ran for six years in the West End, first at the Dominion and then at the Cambridge Theatre. It returned to the Dominion for two weeks last October as part of a year-long, UK-wide tour that continues this summer until 17 August 2002.
The touring production currently stars Craig Urbani and Haley Flaherty as teenage lovers Danny and Sandy, but they will not be accompanying the show to the West End (Urbani will shortly start rehearsals for the UK premiere of Susan Stroman's Tony Award-winning Contact, which opens at the Queen's Theatre in October). New cast information for Grease is due shortly.
Michael Blakemore's revival of Kiss Me Kate, with its quartet of American stars, transferred triumphantly from a post-11 September Broadway in October 2001. In addition to nine Olivier nominations, the production won the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle awards for Best Musical and the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Musical Revival. Despite beginning recasting for British principals and extended booking to March 2003, producers decided in July to close the show this month when the Broadway stars - Brent Barrett, Michael Beresse, Nancy Anderson and, now, Rachel York - finish their contracts. There are plans for a UK tour next year.
- by Terri Paddock