Emma Clarendon chatted to Dan about bringing Grease back to the West End.
Hi Dan – how does it feel to be part of this production of Grease? I am very excited to be a part of this company and share our version of Grease with the world. I have been playing ‘Danny’ in a UK tour of the show since 2019. This will be the third time I’ve done this musical and this production is really shaping up to be bigger and better than ever.
What can audiences expect from this production? This production will be completely different to any Grease you have ever seen before. We are very fortunate to be developing this new Grease under the inimitable, creative and unique eye of our director, Nikolai Foster. His vision of the show is to take Grease back to its roots. The show is based back in Chicago, where it was originally set. We have digged a little deeper into who these kids really were and what they were going through during the late ‘50s. As well as a grittier, more multi-layered show, we still have all the big numbers, bright colours and iconic moments the audience really crave! Yes, there is still a Megamix and yes, you can still wear your leather/pink ladies jacket if you like.
What was it that made you want to be part of Grease? Grease is a show I’ve always wanted to be a part of. It was the first show I performed in as a child (playing Danny, aged 12!).
When I heard they were making a new version and were reimagining it, I was very keen to audition. Nikolai and Arlene Phillips (choreographer) are two creatives I respect a lot. The two of them working together seemed to be a very exciting project so I was thrilled when I landed the role.
How do you see your character Danny? Danny is a character that I’ve always felt has been, in some way, a part of my life. When I started the preparation for my first rehearsal process I really wanted to recreate the role and not be a ‘Travolta impersonator’. Underneath the machismo, bravado and toxic masculinity he wears so proudly, there is a sensitive boy who makes a lot of mistakes in order to save face. Finding the moments in the show where I can bear these vulnerabilities is the most important thing for me with ‘Danny.’
Why do you think this musical is still so popular with audiences? Grease has become a multi-generational film. Parents who saw the movie in cinemas introduced it to their kids, and then in turn to their own kids. There’s no doubt the songs are a huge part of the success of the movie. Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey wrote the most amazing tunes.We have also had a very difficult few years all around the world, so the healing power of theatre is needed more than ever. Grease is full of joy, friendship and nostalgic fun so it’s exactly the sort of thing people want to watch.
Can you remember the first time you saw Grease for the first time? I think Grease was the first movie musical I ever saw, and like many others, I fell in love with it. The songs and the style were what captured me. I used to slick my hair back just like Danny Zuko and sing ‘Robbie Williams’ songs in talent shows!
Have you a favourite moment in the show? It’s hard to pick a favourite moment. I think I will go with a new section of the show. After ‘Greased Lightnin’, we have a brilliant scene where all the boys are getting up to no good on a street corner and dream of getting tattoos. The song is called the ‘Tattoo song’, and it’s so much fun. Sounds intriguing right? Well if you want to see it for yourself, there’s only one place to watch it…
By Emma Clarendon
Grease will begin performances at the Dominion Theatre from the 3rd May 2022. To book tickets click here or visit: From the Box Office, Last Minute.com, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, London Theatre Direct or Love Theatre.com.