In a first for theatrical-based fundraising, the West End production of Grease has raised £500,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support through giving Macmillan £1 for every ticket sold to the show in the first year, a gala performance, and from money raised by its leading actors’ appearance on TV’s Celebrity Weakest Link. The performance at the Piccadilly Theatre tonight (13 December 2007) will be attended by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Macmillan supporter Elizabeth Hurley (pictured) who will accepting a cheque on the charity’s behalf.

Hurley said: “I am thrilled to accept this cheque for Macmillan Cancer Support, and on behalf of Macmillan I would like to thank everyone involved in Grease for this incredible donation. This money will be put to immediate use to enable Macmillan to continue to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.”

According to the musical’s co-producer David Ian, the partnership between Grease and Macmillan is the first of its kind in the world of theatre: “I lost my mum to cancer ten years ago this Christmas Eve, so for Grease to be making this incredible donation to Macmillan is very personal to me. Macmillan do such wonderful work supporting those living with cancer and I am very proud to be doing all I can to support them.”

One in three people will get cancer with 1.2 million people in the UK living with the disease. All money raised will help Macmillan be a source of practical, medical, emotional and financial support to those affected by cancer.

In its latest West End incarnation, Grease opened at the Piccadilly Theatre on 8 August 2007 (previews from 25 July), starring Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden, who won the roles of teen sweethearts Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski through ITV’s competition Grease Is the Word. At last week’s launch of this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, McFadden was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical and the show itself received a nomination for Best Musical Revival (click here to vote!).

Grease is directed by David Gilmore and designed by Terry Parson with choreography by Arlene Phillips (recreated by Stori James). The new West End cast also features How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’s Siobhan Dillon (as Patty Simcox), Sean Mulligan (Kenickie), Jayde Westaby (Rizzo), Lee Martin (Doody), Bennett Andrews (Sonny), Laurie Scarth (Jan), Charlie Cameron (Marty), Alana Phillips (Frenchy) and Jason Capewell (Vince / Teen Angel).

- by Terri Paddock