By Ernio Hernandez
07 Nov 2006
"Billy is the perfect host for Grease," said NBC Entertainment's senior vice president of alternative programming, development and specials Craig Plestis. "He is one of the most experienced and talented live TV hosts around today and will have great chemistry with Denise, who brings a wealth of theatre knowledge to the show."
Bush has co-anchored the daily entertainment newsmagazine show "Access Hollywood" since June 2004. He has also handled red carpet duties at the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys and Grammys, and hosted ABC's Academy Awards pre-show for the past three years.
Van Outen has played Roxie Hart in the West End run of Chicago and reprised her turn on Broadway as well. The star of 2003's Tell Me On a Sunday began on television as host of the U.K. morning show "The Big Breakfast," and has more recently been seen in the ITV drama "Where The Heart Is" and as co-host on the hit morning show "This Morning."
BBC Worldwide Productions teams with NBC for the mid-season show in which America will decide the two leads for the new Broadway show.
Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game) will direct and choreograph the new staging as well as judge the competition — along with Grease co-creator Jim Jacobs and theatre producer David Ian.
Paul Nicholas and David Ian Associates, Nederlander Presentations and Phoenix Productions will produce the Broadway run of the show, which begins rehearsals on or about April 1, 2007.
The musical Grease — by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey — debuted on Broadway Feb. 14, 1972 and captured the spirit of audiences with its the 1950's-set all-American lovestory of two teens from opposite sides of the fence who fall in love one summer only to discover each other again, this time attending Rydell High School. Will the "bad boy" and the "good girl" be able to rekindle their romance amid the politics of high school?
In 1978, Grease became "the word" with a popular feature film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as the lovelorn leads. A Broadway revival played as recently as 1994-1998.
The new Broadway production will feature the smash Jacobs-Casey songs made famous by the original play including "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightning" and "We Go Together" as well as the four additional film songs "Grease is the Word," "You're the One That I Want," "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Sandy" interpolated into the score.
Tickets for Grease will go on sale Dec. 1, 2006. Group sales are available now by calling Nederlander Group Sales at (212) 840-3890.