Bayne & McFadden Are Greaseís Danny & SandyDate: 11 June 2007
In Saturday’s second dose of reality TV theatre casting (See Today’s Other News), Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden (pictured together) were crowned the victors of ITV’s Grease Is the Word, thereby winning the starring roles of lovebirds Danny and Sandy in the upcoming revival of Grease, which opens on 8 August 2007 (previews from 25 July) at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre (See News, 29 Mar 2007).
After open auditions attracted thousands, eight couples underwent musical theatre “boot camp” and weeks of live, publicly voted contests in which they competed both as couples and as individuals. Baynes and McFadden were originally paired together in the programme and reunited on Saturday. After triumphing over former pop star Anthony Kavanagh and Michelle Antrobus, the new Danny and Sandy sang “We Go Together” from the musical on stage for the first time.
Bayne, 19 from Kent, admitted: “I never thought I was going to win tonight and I can’t wait.” Twenty-four-year-old McFadden, who is the brother of former Westlife pop star Brian McFadden, said: “The first thing I’m going to do is drink a big bottle of champagne. I have worked so hard to get here tonight.”
Grease producer and programme judge David Ian told the winners: “Danny and Sandy the characters have been very good for me, and I would ask please look after the roles, work hard and take care of them.”
TV viewers were left in no doubt about whose shoes Baynes and McFadden will be filling. The 1972 Broadway musical was immortalised by the 1979 film version, in which John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John played Danny and Sandy – ITV screened the film immediately prior to Saturday’s final. Newton-John sent a good luck message via video link to the finalists.
The stage version of Grease originally ran for six years in the West End, first at the Dominion and then at the Cambridge Theatre, returning to London for a short run back at the Dominion in 2001 and at the Victoria Palace in 2002/3. In between, it has toured the UK extensively, produced since 1993 by Ian.
Grease has book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. It’s now-famous songs include “Summer Nights”, “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee”, “We Go Together”, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, “Beauty School Dropout”, “You’re the One That I Want”, “Greased Lightnin’” and “Grease Is the Word”.
For the past two months, Grease Is the Word has gone head-to-head with Any Dream Will Do, the BBC One programme to cast the title role in the new West End revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, opening at the Adelphi Theatre next month (See News, 5 Apr 2007). The rival reality show – led by Andrew Lloyd Webber - also crowned its winner on Saturday night (See Today’s Other News).
- by Terri Paddock