Fresh from The Full Monty, leading man Ben Richards will join the West End cast of Grease. From 8 January 2003, he'll take over from American Greg Kohout as Danny to Caroline Sheen's Sandy at the Victoria Palace.

Richards won critical acclaim playing the lead of Jerry Lukowski in the award-winning Broadway transfer of The Full Monty, which closed last month at the Prince of Wales theatre. His other West End credits include Saturday Night Fever, Smokey Joe's Café, and Hot Mikado. He previously appeared in Grease, playing the role of Danny's best friend Kenickie.

Also in the current cast of Grease are Matthew Cutts, Dawn Spence, Daniel Boys, Richard Taylor Woods, Ben Forster, Louise Dearman, Emma Cannon, Tanya Caridia and Steps' pop star Lee Latchford-Evans, who guests in the cameo role of "Teen Angel".

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. Written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Grease, this production of Grease is directed by David Gilmore, choreographed by Arlene Phillips and produced by Paul Nicholas and David Ian.

- by Terri Paddock