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Changin' Grease

Changin' Grease

What: Grease
Where: Civic Theatre
Author: Jade Lazarevic
When: Wednesday November 19, 2003

SINCE it opened 30 years ago, GREASE has become one of the most successful stage musicals.

The production first opened in 1973 and starred an unknown RICHARD GERE in the lead role of DANNY and JOHN TRAVOLTA as DOODY.

In 1979, Grease took over the record as the longest- running show in the history of broadway.

In the mid-1990s, Grease played an average of eight shows each week in London's West End and its popularity continued to ride high into the new millennium.

To celebrate 30 years of Grease, a special anniversary production will open at CIVIC THEATRE NEWCASTLE from November 19.

The production celebrates Newcastle's growing theatre scene with a local cast and crew.

Director PETER ROSS, a former Novocastrian who has starred in and directed productions around Australia, said it was a prime opportunity to nurture Newcastle's talent.

``We wanted to showcase the up-and-coming talent of Newcastle and give them a professional vehicle which really enables them to explore and extend their talent,'' Ross said.

``It's very rare that a show on this scale is produced from the ground up in Newcastle and as an old Newcastle boy it's great to be involved in the production.

'' The show will feature local theatre stars DANIEL STODDART and HANNAH RULE in the lead roles of DANNY and SANDY respectively.

It will also feature well known locals such as musician AMY VEE, who Ross said is perfect in the role of bad-girl RIZZO.

``We've got a great cast on board including people like Amy Vee who plays Rizzo, she's fantastic.

'' The show will star 32 cast members and a 10-piece band who will re-create all the timeless tunes that made Grease so popular.

Ross said the production would incorporate elements of both the stage and film versions of Grease.

``The movie is a little bit d ferent to the stage show because they wrote a couple of songs for the movie, so it doesn't have a few songs like HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU, GREASE IS THE WORD and SANDY.

``But we have decided to use a couple of those in our stage show because that's what is expected when people think of Grease.

'' As well as the music, the magic of Grease will be brought to the stage through colourful costumes and a retro set design that captures the 1950s era.

ANGUS STRATHIE, who worked on MOULIN ROUGE, is behind the costume design and the set is designed by local artist and NIDA graduate TIM NEVE.

``I asked Tim to come up with a 1950s set with a now feeling, so it has quite a retro feel to it.

``Pop art started in the late 1950s so Tim has brought a lot of that into the design too.

It will be very colourful but it will still be very 1950s.

'' Grease opens at Civic Theatre Newcastle on November 19.

Bookings can be made on 4929-1977.

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