Seventies pop star Jimmy Osmond (pictured) has reduced by a fortnight his scheduled new year run in Grease (See News, 4 Feb 2008). The American makes his West End debut in the production at the Piccadilly Theatre on 19 January 2009 and had been due to continue for two months until 14 March. He will now finish on 28 February.

The youngest sibling from the family group of singers The Osmonds, Jimmy Osmond is best remembered for his 1972 hit, “Long Haired Lover from Liverpool”, which was released when he was just nine years old. He remains the youngest performer to have a No 1 single in the UK charts. In Grease, he’ll play Teen Angel, who sings “Beauty School Dropout”.

The current cast is led by Danny Bayne, winner of last year’s Grease Is the Word competition on ITV, as Danny Zuko and Nicola Brazil as Sandy. 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