"Number one party musical!" shouts the bill for the latest John Frost production of Grease, and it's hard to argue. Grease has more hits than a drugstore jukebox. Songs like 'You’re The One That I Want', 'Summer Nights' and 'Greased Lightnin'' are the great inevitables of any modern party.
This new production stars Rob Mills as the archetypical bad boy Danny Zuko and newcomer Gretel Scarlett as Sandy, the ingénue with a secret streak of sass. We know the one-time Australian Idol heartthrob has plenty of vocal swagger, but does Millsy have the ultramatic pelvis for the role made legendary by John Travolta? Only time will tell, but he is coming fresh from strong performances as Fiyero in Wicked and Warner Huntington III in Legally Blonde. For Scarlett, this will be her first lead in a main stage musical, perfect for the virginal Sandra Dee.
But if there's any want of experience between the two stars, the rest make up for it. Bert Newton plays Vince 'The Main Brain' Fontaine, veteran disk jockey (verily a veteran in Bert's case). Todd McKenney is a fleet-of-foot Teen Angel, the sweet voice of teen reason. And Anthony Callea is Johnny Casino, the all-American star of every school dance. There's also Lucy Maunder, Stephen Mahy, Francine Cain, Chris Durling, Sam Ludeman, Duane McGregor and Laura Murphy.
Somehow, nostalgia for Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's high-school fantasia transcends all generations. What makes it such a phenomenon? Stori James, associate choreographer on this new production, probably puts it best: "These kids are young, energetic, they have no responsibility, they love life and they're having a bloody great time."