Inside Melbourne’s Grease rehearsals

Are you ready for some Summer Loving? Grease is the Word Melbourne! 

The all-new Australian production, produced by John Frost Crossroads Live, will have you busting out your best hand jive. 

From December 31, the students of Rydell High are set to hit the stage of Her Majesty’s Theatre and the cast promises “to be slicker, sexier and more electrifying than ever”. 

ENCORE Melbourne dropped by rehearsals this week to see how it was coming together.

A front row seat will be the one that you want to see the raft of celebrity cameos up close and personal, including Patti Newton, Jay Lag’aia, Paulini and ARIA Hall of Fame artist Marcia Hines. 

PHOTO: Eden Hayes

The leathered-up Danny Zuko will be played by Victorian College of the Arts graduate Joseph Spanti, who is excited to shape the character into something new and unique. 

“Australian audiences don’t want to go and see something they saw 10 years ago, they want to see fresh new talent, trying new things and pushing the boundaries,” he said.

Annelise Hall is another rising star and an official ambassador for the Olivia Newton-John’s Walk for Wellness, who is playing the role of Sandy. Famously portrayed on screen by Olivia Newton-John.

Joseph and Annelise had chemistry from the moment they connected at call-back auditions, effortlessly working together and clicking from the beginning. 

Joseph said you don’t get acting partners as open-minded and as easy-going as Annelise very often.

McKenzie Dunn, who starred in Hairspray and Shrek the Musical, will step out of her comfort zone to portray the tough and sarcastic Betty Rizzo. 

“I’ve always played good girls in my career so this is the first time I get to play the tough baddy, which is a side of me no one has ever seen,” she said. 

McKenzie is a life long Grease fan, having grown up with the soundtrack and admits to singing one or two of the show’s hits on karaoke nights throughout her adulthood. 

Marcia Hines will play the role of Teen Angel in the multi-million-dollar production. 

She said “yes” to the iconic musical after hearing just how many of her industry peers were coming together for the latest instalment. 

Marcia is looking forward to creating a new and inspiring version of the Teen Angel, who was originally played by Frankie Avalon in the film.

“I’m still building my character as we speak but I am going to do the best that I can to make it fun,” she said. 

Through connections with John Frost Crossroads Live, Jay Lag’aia, Patti Newton and director Luke Joslin, Marcia decided it was something she had to be a part of.

Director Luke Joslin and Dave Skelton said the newly developed Australian production depicts the storyline of the ’70s masterpiece with a “spicy” new interpretation. 

“It really puts the lens back on the story, that’s what we are really trying to do. One can argue that over the years it’s felt a little watered down,” Luke said. 

Grease was the musical that made the world fall in love with the late Olivia Newton-John so there’s no surprise the fresh portrayal will partner with the Olivia-Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre, to raise funds for programs reducing the side effects of cancer treatment. 

You better shape up, pop on your leather pants, perm your hair, and head to Ticketek to grab your tickets.

Grease is the time, is the place, is the motion and Grease is the way we are feeling.

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Eden Hayes
Eden Hayes
Eden Hayes is a Melbourne journalist with a passion for theatre, sports and popular culture. She loves a night out at the theatre!

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