The forthcoming NBC reality/competition show, "You're The One That We Want," will serve as the audition process for the leads of Sandy and Danny in a summer 2007 Broadway revival of Grease — with America assuming the role of casting agent.
Producer David Ian revealed to Playbill.com how the show will work: "We're going to hold open auditions in Chicago, Los Angeles and, this weekend, in New York. And from the open auditions, those that are selected will go through to a training week, a 'Grease academy' if you like."
He explained, "These three cities will formulate into recorded episodes and will be shown first and then we'll run into live episodes once we start the elimination process and the public vote being involved."
Slated to begin airing in January 2007, the new show is expected to span nine episodes through to mid-March, according to Ian. Joining Ian on the judging panel of three will be the revival's director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall (who staged the Tony Award-winning revival of The Pajama Game starring Harry Connick, Jr. on Broadway last season — earning her second consecutive Tony for Choreography) and Grease co-creator Jim Jacobs.
This will be the second reality-based audition process for producer Ian, who also served as a judge on the similar BBC show "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" That show cast the leading lady for a London revival of The Sound of Music. There are differences and similarities between the shows: In "...Maria?" Andrew Lloyd Webber sat upon his own throne (away from the three-judge panel) and could save a possible castoff from leaving the show. There is no such savior on "You're The One..."
There will also possibly be two hosts — to be named shortly — whereas Graham Norton served as the sole emcee for the BBC show.
"There will be, shall we say 'Grease-related' guests," Ian also divulged, "so whether it be from previous stage shows or indeed the movie, people that are connected to the show will be guest stars."
Broadway audiences and the 1978 film fans will at long last unite as the revival will include songs from both versions of the property. "It will be the first Broadway production of Grease to use the four songs from the movie that weren't in the original stage show," Ian said. They are "Grease is the Word," "You're the One That I Want," "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Sandy."
The addition of the film songs to the stage work was a selling point for Ian. "I produced Grease here in London in 1993 and that was the first time that the songs had been obtained and used here. It was certainly very desirable by me because I think that people of this generation know Grease from the movie arguably as much, if not moreso, than the stage show. I think they go anticipating those songs being in it."
Asked whether he could foresee other roles or replacements being cast from the pool of Broadway hopefuls, Ian said, "I suppose it's possible, but the focus of the competition is actually the casting of the leads of Sandy and Danny."