Grease opens at Her Majesty’s Theatre

The new multi-million dollar production of GREASE has opened to a standing ovation at Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre.

The star studded cast featuring Patti Newton (Miss Lynch), Marcia Hines (Teen Angel), Jay Laga’aia (Vince Fontaine), and Joseph Spanti (Danny Zuko) and Annelise Hall (Sandy Dumbrowski) in the leading roles, have kicked off their national tour.

It’s the first time GREASE has been performed professionally in Australia since the passing of Olivia Newton-John, who famously played Sandy in the 1978 film.

The production last called Melbourne home in 2013 when it starred Bert Newton, Rob Mills and Todd McKenney.

Produced by John Frost for Crossroads Live Australia, the new adaption puts a stronger emphasis on female empowerment.

“Our relationship, as Sandy and Rizzo, is much more about sisterhood than it is about competition, which is something that we’ve enjoyed bringing to this production,” Mackenzie Dunn (who plays Rizzo) said at yesterday’s media call.

“It’s important for us to bring it into a 2024 lens and see how the audience will see it in this day and age.”

PHOTO: Jeff Busby

Joining the gang at Rydell High is Keanu Gonzalez (Kenickie), Lucy Fraser (Patty Simcox)and Gareth Isaac (Eugene).

The iconic Pink Ladies includes Catty Hamilton (Frenchy) and Caitlin Spears (Jan), while Andy Seymour (Roger), Harry Targett (Sonny) and Tom Davis (Doody) are donning the famed leather jackets as
the T-Birds.

The cast have been astounded by Melbourne’s reaction to the week and a half of previews, before last night’s official opening performance.

Keanu Gonzalez (Kenickie) said they can see audiences singing along during the production’s six minute megamix following their bows.

“It makes me so emotional. And you can see people reliving their childhood or whenever they saw the movie for the first time,” he said.

“And there is so many die hard GREASE fans out there. Like we go to stage a door and there’s a sea of Pink Ladies and a sea of T-birds,” Joseph Spanti (Danny Zuko) added.

Annelise Hall (Sandy) said she is is honoured to be walking in the footsteps of Olivia Newton-John, who has strong ties to Melbourne – growing up here and opening her cancer wellness centre in the city.

“This year, being able to do the Walk for Wellness, getting to sing there and going to the hospital meeting some of the patients – it’s all been very inspiring and special,” she said.

“It’s made me think about why we do this and how we can really have an impact on people’s lives.

“So you know, it’s big shoes to fill but I’m excited to bring my own little flavour to the role.”

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre is the official charity partner of the production.

GREASE tickets are available at greasemusical.com.au. The strictly limited run must close March 10.

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Jack Ward
Jack Wardhttp://jacktward.com
Jack is the current editor of ENCORE Melbourne, a producer and assistant chief of staff at Nine News Melbourne, with a love for theatre and the world of performing arts. He moved to Melbourne from regional Victoria at the start of 2022 for study and work opportunities, AND easy access to Australia's theatre capital! Jack spent several years performing on-stage with his community theatre group and school productions.

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