OVER THE RAINBOW's Samuels Joins West End GREASE as Sandy
Grease celebrates its third electrifying Birthday this July with a new leading lady. The producers announced that Lauren Samuels will join the cast of the smash-hit musical on 26 July 2010. Making her West End debut, Lauren will star in the iconic role of 'Sandy' until 22 January 2011 at London's Piccadilly Theatre. Noel Sullivan will continue as 'Danny' and Siubhan Harrison will also join the show in the role of 'Rizzo'.
Set to be one of the West End's new rising stars, Lauren Samuels was a finalist on the popular BBC1 show Over the Rainbow. During the series, in which Andrew Lloyd Webber searched for a leading lady to star in The Wizard of Oz, Lauren consistently wowed the judges with her stunning performances week after week. Watched by millions, she beat thousands of 'Dorothy' hopefuls to become one of the final three and after finishing the programme has gone on to pursue her lifelong ambition to perform in the West End. Having impressed the show's producers and creative team, Lauren will leave audiences hopelessly devoted to Grease when she makes her West End debut this summer. Lauren trained at the Guildford School of Acting and last year made her professional stage debut as 'Wendy' in the Christmas production of Peter Pan at the Curve (Leicester).
Looking forward to her role, Lauren says: 'I am so unbelievably excited to be joining the wonderful cast of Grease. It was one of the first musicals I was taken to see as a young child and so to be given the opportunity to recreate the iconic role of 'Sandy' and to make my West End debut in the show, is a dream come true. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!' Producer David Ian says: 'I'm thrilled that Lauren is joining the cast of Grease as Sandy. I know audiences will love her performance in the most fun show in London'.
Grease celebrates its third birthday in London this summer, having returned to the West End on 25 July 2007 (with a press night on 8 August). Since its premiere the feel-good audience favourite has been seen by over 1 million theatregoers at the Piccadilly Theatre, where it continues to enjoy huge popularity. Now in its third (soon to be fourth) electrifying year, Grease is the longest running show in the venue's history and tickets for the production are currently on sale until September 2011.
Noel rose to fame as a member of Hear'say, the record-breaking pop band formed through ITV's talent search Popstars. He achieved chart-topping success with the hugely popular group who became overnight celebrities, sold millions of records, obtained four Top 10 hits, and more (before their split in 2002). Noel has since returned to his first love, the stage and musical theatre, and has appeared in several successful productions including Fame (Edinburgh Playhouse), Love Shack, What A Feeling and Flashdance: The Musical (UK Tours), to acclaim. He recently featured in the tour concerts of Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) to preview excerpts from Moonshadow, the debut musical by the acclaimed singer-songwriter destined for the West End, and also recorded in the studio with the artist for the show's concept album.
The class of Rydell High 2010 also includes Matthew Goodgame ('Kenickie'), Lucas Rush ('Roger'), Hayley Gallivan ('Jan'), Benjamin Ibbott ('Doody'), Faye Brookes ('Frenchy'), Bennett Andrews ('Sonny'), Robyn Mellor ('Marty'), Michael Vinsen ('Eugene'), Susannah Allman ('Patty'), Kerry Winter '(Miss Lynch'), Stephanie Powell ('Cha Cha') and Jason Capewell (Vince Fontaine). Since breaking out on Broadway in 1972, Grease's place has been firmly established in the culturAl Hall of Fame, having seduced the hearts of millions with its back-to-back sizzling tunes. The show features all the unforgettable songs from the hit 1978 film (starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John) including 'You're The One That I Want', 'Grease Is The Word', 'Summer Nights', 'Hopelessly Devoted to You', 'Sandy', 'Greased Lightnin' and many more. Voted the "No 1 Greatest Musical"*, Grease has proved that a musical love story, bursting with denim, cheerleaders, slick hairstyles, rock'n'roll, teenage angst and young romance is timeless and universal.
This production originally opened in the West End in 1993 (co-produced with Robert Stigwood) where it enjoyed a fantastic run of 6 years. The last international tour of Grease was a phenomenal success, playing to sell-out audiences and smashing records at many venues. Since 1993, the show has been seen by audiences totalling over 10 million people in the UK alone. A second production has just opened in Cape Town and will then travel to Johannesburg, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Written by Jim Jacobs and WarRen Casey, directed by David Gilmore (Daisy Pulls It Off, Happy Days, Song & Dance, Footloose) and choreographed by Arlene Phillips (Starlight Express, Saturday Night Fever Flashdance The Musical & BBC's Strictly Come Dancing), Grease is produced in the West End by Paul Nicholas and David Ian, by arrangement with Robert Stigwood.
For more information, visit www.greasethemusical.co.uk