Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child Joins GREASE in Toronto

Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child Joins GREASE in Toronto

In a tradition that started in 1978 with Frankie Avalon, Grease: The Musical announces its fifth special cameo appearance by Grammy-Award singer/songwriter Michelle Williams who will join the other celebrity teen idols: Mark Ballas, George Canyon, Logan Henderson and Drake Bell -- in the iconic role of 'Teen Angel'. Michelle Williams is a Broadway actress, entrepreneur, designer, television host, and inspirational speaker and was a member of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling female groups of all time. Her Broadway credits include: the title role in Aida, Shug Avery in The Color Purple on Broadway and Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway and London's West End.

A highlight of both the theatrical and film versions of Grease, the 'Teen Angel' cameo includes the song Beauty School Dropout, a fan favourite. The role was originated on Broadway by Alan Paul, later a member of The Manhattan Transfer, and was recorded by 50s teen idol Frankie Avalon for the 1978 film adaptation of Grease.

This Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter was making hit after hit as a member of Destiny's Child, and then as a solo artist with four critically acclaimed albums (Heart to Yours, Do Your Know, Unexpected, and Journey to Freedom) she has grown her career in a multitude of directions.

"I love the theater. It has been like therapy for me," Williams says. "The characters that I play are strong women and they absolutely stay with me way after I'm done with the role. Parts of me are those characters," she admits.

Later this year, she will be a featured speaker at the Kennedy Forum in Chicago, an annual gathering where national and global thought leaders will discuss the stigma against mental health and substance use disorders.

In addition, Williams has signed on to be an ambassador for the Office on Women's Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to promote awareness about maintaining optimum physical and mental health through nutrition, exercise, and proper medical care, among women and young girls. She also plans to launch her own series of empowerment events, titled the Believe Tour. The seminars will feature panels, workshops, and other programs to inspire people to follow their dreams.

"I want to encourage people to have patience and know that if they have an idea, do it. I did a small brunch in New Orleans of about 30 women and we were all in tears afterwards, because so many of those women had ideas that they had brushed aside," says Williams. "I want to motivate people to keep believing. If they have an old business plan, I want them to dust it off and get to it again."

Williams also wants to focus on mental health, an issue that has personally affected her and one in which many in the African American community do not like to talk about. But over the last few years, she has been very vocal and candid about her battle with depression, which she was able to overcome through her faith in God and therapy. "I had been dealing with depression since my teens, but back then, I chalked it up to growing pains or hormones. But when it lingered, I was able to put a name to it," she says. "I had to learn not to entertain negative thoughts because they're not real."

Performances of Grease: The Musical runs until July 8 - Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; matinees are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at The Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre Centre, 189 Yonge Street. Ticket prices range from $29 - $199 and can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.ca, www.greaseonstage.com/tickets, by phone at 1-855- 985-5000, or at The Elgin Winter Garden Theatre Centre Box Office, during regular business hours.

About the Celebrity Cameo Teen Angels:

Mark Ballas, (5 performances from June 7 - 10) Mark is an Emmy-nominated veteran of 19 seasons of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, is also a choreographer, actor, singer, and musician, who made his Broadway debut playing Frankie Valli in the hit show Jersey Boys. Mark and his wife, BC Jean, have over 7 million Spotify streams and several #1 hits with their band, Alexander Jean. His new single "Stampede" releases on June 8.

Canyon, (8 performances from June 12 - 17) is a two-time Juno Award winner and winner of 8 Canadian Country Music Awards. His new album, Southside of Heaven released on May 25.

Logan Henderson (5 performances from June 24 - 29) Logan recently released his debut solo album Echoes of Departures and the Endless Street of Dreams - Pt.1 on May 18th via all digital retailers and streaming services through Sony/RED MUSIC/ Herø Records. Produced by RAS (Walk The Moon, Skylar Gray, Diplo, Machine Gun Kelly), the album features 7-tracks including two previously released singles "Sleepwalker", which to date has accumulated an impressive 1.1 million Spotify streams, and the sleek "Bite My Tongue", Henderson's latest single which recently entered the Top 40 US Pop Radio charts.

Drake Bell, (8 performances from July 3 - 8) Drake is the star of the hit TV series, Drake & Josh, Fairly Odd Parents and The Amanda Show, released his debut pop album Honest in 2017 and is currently touring the United States.

About Grease: The Musical

This is the second Toronto run for Grease: The Musical. It follows a sold-out 10-week run at the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre Centre in Fall 2017. Janel Parrish (The Perfectionists, Pretty Little Liars) reprises the role of 'good girl gone bad' Sandy. In this new production, she will be joined onstage by newcomer Matthew Helfer (How To Be A Vampire) as Danny, and supported by a young, energetic cast of Pink Ladies and T-Birds.

Book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Directed by Lisa Stevens. Original direction and choreography by Josh Prince. Musical Arrangements by Phil Burton, Musical Direction by Elizabeth Baird, Set Design by Paul Tate DePoo III, Costume Design by Cory Sincennes, Lighting Design by Michael Walton, Projection Design by Matthew Haber, Sound Design by Peter McBoyle, and Wigs, Hair and Makeup Design by Gerald Altenburg.

Grease: The Musical is produced by Irregular Entertainment, David Galpern, John Kelly and Charles Roy, and executive produced by Matt Weaver (Lead Producer of Rock of Ages on Broadway and Executive Producer of Chef's Table on Netflix), and presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

Photo Credit: Derek Blanks

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