The X-Factor’s Ray Quinn (pictured) will guest-star in the new cast of Grease at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre. For a limited season from 16 June until 15 November 2008, Quinn will make his West End debut playing Thunderbird Doody in the musical, which has is now booking through to 10 January 2009.

In the 2006 series of The X-Factor, Quinn went head to head with eventual winner Leona Lewis. He subsequently released his Platinum-selling album Doing It My Way and launched a sell-out concert tour. He launched his acting career with an appearance on TV soap Brookside.

Danny Bayne, winner of last year’s Grease Is the Word competition on ITV, will continue in the role of Danny Zuko and will be joined by Nicola Brazil (recently seen in Wicked) as Sandy. Other cast members joining from 16 June include: Stuart Ramsay (as Kenickie), Natalie Langston (Rizzo), Kristofer Harding (Roger), Bennett Andrews (Sonny), Emily Bull (Frenchy), Laura Wilson (Jan), Emma Stephens (Marty), Jason Capewell (Vince/Teen Angel), Benjamin Ibbott (Eugene), Emma Green (Patty), Chloe Brooks (Miss Lynch) and Kristina Macmillan (Cha Cha).

Grease is directed by David Gilmore, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, and produced by Grease Is the Word judge David Ian and Paul Nicholas, by arrangement with Robert Stigwood. 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”.

The 1972 Broadway musical was immortalised by the 1979 film version, in which John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John played Danny and Sandy. 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, produced since 1993 by Ian.

This production celebrates its 15th anniversary in the West End this year, having originally opened at the Dominion on 15 July 1993, with a cast led by Craig McLachlan as Danny, Debbie Gibson as Sandy and Shane Ritchie as Kenickie. Following Grease Is the Word, the musical returned last summer, opening on 8 August 2007 (previews from 25 July) at the Piccadilly, where it’s been seen by more than 250,000 people.

- by Terri Paddock