|Photo by Dean Hendler for NBC/Universal|
"Access Hollywood" co-anchor Billy Bush and U.K. television and theatre star Denise Van Outen host the show, which kicks off with two one-and-a-half hour shows (on Jan. 7 and 14) before continuing on Sunday nights in an hour-long format. BBC Worldwide Productions teams with NBC on the mid-season show.
Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game) will direct and choreograph the new Broadway production as well as judge the competition. Her judging co-horts will be Grease co-creator Jim Jacobs and theatre producer David Ian.
Producer David Ian previously revealed to Playbill.com (Oct. 2006) how the show will work: "We're going to hold open auditions in Chicago, Los Angeles and 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." In the same vein as "American Idol," America will assume the role of casting agent. The new show is expected to span nine episodes through to mid-March, according to Ian.
Newton-John joins a number of veterans of the Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey musical (from both stage and screen) who will appear as special guests on the series. Jeff Conaway (Kenickie in the film and a Danny replacement in the original Broadway show), Adrian Zmed (Danny replacement in original and revival, Johnny in "Grease 2"), Marilu Henner (Marty replacement in original Broadway run), Lucy Lawless (Rizzo replacement in revival) and Barry Bostwick (the original Broadway Danny Zuko) are slated to appear on the show as guests.
Jai Rodriguez (Rent, "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy") and Marissa Jaret Winokur (Tony Award winner from Hairspray) will also participate.
The musical Grease debuted on Broadway Feb. 14, 1972, and captured the spirit of audiences with its 1950's-set all-American love story 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 musical, 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.
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. The capitalization is $10 million.
Group sales for Grease are available now by calling Nederlander Group Sales at (212) 840-3890.
The NBC official website for the show can be found at nbc.com/Grease.