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Jimmy Osmond Guest Stars in Grease from 19 Jan

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Seventies pop star Jimmy Osmond (pictured) will make his West End debut in the new year, when he joins the cast of Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre for a limited season from 19 January to 14 March 2009.

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”.

In a press statement, Osmond said: “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to play in the West End and what better show than Grease. It is fast, fun, energetic and full of talent and I am just thrilled to be playing Teen Angel”.

The show’s producer David Ian added: “Jimmy Osmond is truly a worldwide star and to have him starring in Grease, the UK's number 1 musical, is as exciting as it gets for London's theatre fans.”

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


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