Hicks, who joined the company June 6, will be succeeded by Stephen Buntrock, who created the role of Teen Angel for this revival. Buntrock rejoins the cast Sept. 9. That evening will also welcome another former "Idol" contestant, Ace Young, to the cast. Young will step into the role of Kenickie through Jan. 18, 2009.
Taylor Hicks was named "American Idol" in 2006, besting runner-up Katharine McPhee. Born in Birmingham, AL, Hicks toured the Southeastern U.S. during his teenage years and released two independent albums. Following his "Idol" win, Hicks signed a recording contract with 19 Records Limited/Arista Records. His eponymous debut album, "Taylor Hicks," debuted in the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 charts and was later certified as a platinum album. Hicks' memoir is titled "Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way."
The current cast of Grease, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, includes Ashley Spencer as Sandy and Derek Keeling as Danny with Janine DiVita as Rizzo, Ryan Patrick Binder as Doody, Susan Blommaert as Miss Lynch, Will Blum as Roger, Jeb Brown as Vince, Allison Fischer as Patty, Robyn Hurder as Marty, Lindsay Mendez as Jan, Jose Restrepo as Sonny, Matthew Saldivar as Kenickie, Jamison Scott as Eugene, Kirsten Wyatt as Frenchy and "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel. The ensemble comprises Josh Franklin, Natalie Hill, Matthew Hydzik, Keven Quillon, Allie Schultz, Brian Sears, Christina Sivrich, Amber Stone and Anna Aimee White.
"After spending a hopelessly devoted summer with Sandy Dumbrowski (Spencer), the new girl in town," Grease press notes state, "Danny Zuko's (Keeling) world is thrown upside down when Sandy appears at Rydell High on the first day of school. What follows is a rock 'n' roll celebration of growin' up, cruisin' with friends and goin' steady."
Grease features scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Martin Pakledinaz, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and sound design by Brian Ronan. Grease features book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. The new production also boasts songs from the hit 1978 film, which co-starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Among the film songs heard in the Broadway revival are "Sandy," "Hopelessly Devoted to You," "Grease" and "You're the One That I Want."
The new cast recording of Grease is available on the Masterworks Broadway label.
After playing an Off-Broadway engagement at the Eden Theatre, Grease debuted on Broadway in June 1972 at the Broadhurst with a cast that included Barry Bostwick (Danny), Carole Demas (Sandy) and Adrienne Barbeau (Rizzo). The musical closed in April 1980, after playing 20 previews and 3,388 performances. The 1994 revival cast Rosie O'Donnell in the role of Rizzo.
Grease is produced on Broadway by Paul Nicholas and David Ian, Nederlander Presentations, Inc. and Terry Allen Kramer by arrangement with Robert Stigwood.
Tickets for Grease, priced $71.50-$121.50, are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.
For more information visit www.greaseonbroadway.com.