As previously tipped (See The Goss, 2 Feb 2007), the upcoming, reality TV-cast revival of Grease will open at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre, following the closure of Guys and Dolls (See Today’s Other News). Subject to final confirmation, Grease is due to open on 8 August 2007 (previews from 25 July) and is initially booking until 23 February 2008.

Grease Is the Word, the ITV programme that will find the actor and actress to play star-crossed lovers Danny and Sandy, immortalised in the 1979 film version by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, begins broadcasting on Saturday 7 April 2007. Over ten weeks to 9 June, audiences will watch, and vote on, the hopefuls competing for West End stardom.

In addition to Grease producer David Ian, the TV judging panel will comprise: pop star Sinitta, record producer and concert promoter David Gest (pictured – ex-husband of Liza Minnelli and a contestant on last year’s jungle-set I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! on ITV) and choreographer Brian Friedman (who has choreographed for Britney Spears amongst others). Grease Is the Word will be hosted by Zoe Ball, with the supplementary ITV 2 programme Greased Lightnin’ hosted by Holly Willoughby. While group sales are now open, Grease tickets will go on sale to individuals at the end of the month (exact date tbc).

Grease Is the Word is produced by X Factor judge Simon Cowell’s production company Syco TV. When announcing his plans at the end of last year, Cowell said: “Grease is the best musical on the planet. These two parts will be the most sought-after roles in the West End. It will work beautifully for us as a reality show. There will be a lot of twists.”

While now most famous from the 1979 film, Grease began on stage, premiering on Broadway in 1972. The musical 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.

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”.

Guys and Dolls finishes on 14 April 2007 (See Today’s Other News).

- by Terri Paddock