August 09, 2006 12:41 AM by Joe Blackmon
NBC will search for the next Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko in "You’re the One That We Want," a new talent competition series from BBC Worldwide Productions, for mid-season where America will ultimately get to choose the two leads for a new Broadway production of "Grease." The new production of "Grease" will open on Broadway in June 2007 and will be directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall ("The Pajama Game"). Paul Nicholas and David Ian Associates, Nederlander Presentations and Phoenix Productions will produce. Jim Jacobs, the co-creator of "Grease" along with Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall and renowned theatre producer David Ian are set as judges on "You’re the One That We Want." The announcement was made recently by Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment.
Craig Plestis, Senior Vice President of Alternative Programming and Development, NBC Entertainment said, "The winning appeal of ‘Grease’ and its timeless score and storyline extends across all generations and will make for a fantastic series. Americans have grown up with these catchy tunes and appealing characters and we think they’ll love the chance to select the next dynamic duo to play Sandy and Danny."
Wayne Garvie, Director of Content & Production BBC Worldwide, says: "This show is the real deal, a talent search with a phenomenal and tangible prize. We’ve got judges with the best credentials and with a huge investment in the success on Broadway. The stakes have never been higher in a talent show, with America eventually deciding on the next Sandy and Danny. I’m convinced that nothing can beat this piece for its resonance with the American audience – ‘Grease’ will once again capture the hearts and souls of the nation."
Producer David Ian remarks: "I am absolutely thrilled to be involved with this groundbreaking programme. To be able to search the whole of the United States for two new stars to open on Broadway is a truly unique opportunity. I have been involved with ‘Grease’ for 15 years and to at last be presenting the show on Broadway with my dear friends at the Nederlander Organization is a dream come true. I cannot wait to work with the phenomenally talented Kathleen Marshall and the show’s creator Jim Jacobs to create a brand new ‘Grease’ for this millennium."
"Grease," by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is the all-American musical, based on the sub-cultures of high school life in the 1950′s. The show takes place at the hyperactive Rydell High School, where Danny Zuko fronts his gang – the raucous T-Birds – who romance their sassy female equivalents – the Pink Ladies. When "good-girl" Sandy Dumbrowski arrives in town, the Pink Ladies take her under their collective wing.
"Grease" originated in Chicago and made its premiere at The Kingston Mines Theater in 1971 before making its New York premiere off-Broadway at the Eden Theatre on February 14, 1972. After 128 performances and much popularity, the show made the transition to Broadway taking up residence at the Broadhurst Theatre on June 7, 1972. "Grease" was nominated for seven Tony Awards in its spectacular initial run. On November 21, 1972, the show moved to the Royale Theatre. It closed on Broadway after playing 3,388 performances, closing as the longest running show in Broadway history. In 1978, "Grease" became a hugely popular feature film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the lead roles. A Broadway revival opened on May 11, 1994 at the Eugene O’Neil Theatre where it played 1,503 performances and won three Tony Award nominations. A London revival opened on July 15, 1993 at the Dominion Theatre and ran for six years on London’s West End and is still touring today.
The film version of "Grease" produced one of the best-selling soundtracks in history and is the highest-grossing movie musical of all time. The two Travolta/Newton-John duets, "You’re The One That I Want" and "Summer Nights" were both number one hits and appear on the United Kingdom’s All-Time Best-Selling Singles list. The song "Hopelessly Devoted to You" was nominated for an Academy Award (1979) for Best Music – Original Song and the film’s title song, "Grease is the Word" was a number one smash hit single for singer Frankie Valli.
"Grease" is one of the most successful Broadway musicals and motion pictures of all time. In addition to Travolta, some of the actors who have portrayed Danny include Richard Gere, Treat Williams, Patrick Swayze and Barry Bostwick. Other actresses who have played Sandy include pop stars Debbie Gibson and Dannii Minogue, as well as Elaine Paige.
The new Broadway production will feature the smash Jacobs/Casey songs made famous by the the original play including "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightning" and "We Go Together."
"You’re the One That We Want" is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. The BBC’s Paul Telegdy and David Ian are the Executive Producers.