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Musicals Extend: Grease, Dreamboats & Petticoats

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Grease has added a full 12 months to its booking period at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre. The musical, which opened on August 2007 (previews from 25 July), was booking to 4 September 2010 and has now extended through to 3 September 2011 - taking it into its fifth year and making it the longest running show in the venue’s history.

Noel Sullivan and Siobhan Dillon currently star as high school sweethearts Danny and Sandy, alongside guest star former Olympic skating champion Robin Cousins as Teen Angel for a limited season until 19 June. The current cast also features Matthew Goodgame, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Lucas Rush, Hayley Gallivan, Benjamin Ibbott, Faye Brookes, Bennett Andrews and Robyn Mellor.

Grease is directed by David Gilmore, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, and produced by David Ian and Paul Nicholas, by arrangement with Robert Stigwood. 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 toured the UK extensively, produced since 1993 by Ian.

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”.

In other West End musical extension news, rock ‘n’ roll compilation musical Dreamboats and Petticoats has added six months to its season at the Playhouse Theatre, where it’s now booking through to 27 November 2010. It opened at the Playhouse on 6 January 2010, following a three-month run from July to October 2009 at the Savoy Theatre, where it made way for the Broadway transfer of Legally Blonde, and extensive touring.

The musical is based around the Fifties and Sixties hits from the compilation album series of the same name. The first Dreamboats and Petticoats became one of the biggest-selling albums of the decade after its release in 2007, amassing sales of more than 600,000. The second album climbed to number two in the charts within the first week of its release. And Dreamboats and Petticoats 3 went straight in at No 1 on the Compilation Chart.

The albums feature well-known rock ‘n’ roll classics from the likes of Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury and Chuck Berry. Around such hits, book writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, best known for TV sitcoms Birds of a Feather and Shine on Harvey Moon, have fashioned an original story.

In 1961, emotions run high as talented young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win the hearts of their adoring female fans – and more importantly, the gorgeous Sue. But when shy Laura shows that she’s no slouch on the piano, rock ‘n’ roll fame beckons.

Amongst the songs included in the show are: “Let’s Dance”, “To Know Him Is to Love Him”, “Shaking All Over”, “Bobby’s Girl”, “Three Steps to Heaven”, “Little Town Flirt”, “Only Sixteen”, “Runaround Sue”, “Happy Birthday Sweet 16”, “Let It Be Me”, “Great Pretender”, “C’mon Everybody” and “Let’s Twist Again”.

Dreamboats and Petticoats is directed by Bob Tomson and designed by Sean Cavanagh, with choreography by Carole Todd, lighting by Mark Howett, sound by Ben Harrison and musical supervision by Keith Strachan. It’s produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield in association with the record label Universal Music.


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