The Playgoer: All Good Things Must Come to an End...

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

All Good Things Must Come to an End...

...and so must the reign of Max & Laura, the TV-anointed stars of the current Broadway product known as Grease.

But guess who's replacing them? Two other kids from that same tv talent-show.

Finalists Ashley Spencer and Derek Keeling of the reality TV audition series "Grease: You're the One That I Want" will be the new Sandy and Danny of Broadway's Grease beginning July 22... following the departure of original stars Max Crumm and Laura Osnes...[who] will offer their final performances July 20.
Well at least these kids have been accruing more professional credits since.
Keeling was most recently seen in the West Coast premiere of All Shook Up and also played Danny Zuko in a national tour of Grease. Spencer was recently on Broadway playing Amber von Tussle in the Tony-winning musical Hairspray.
The only thing that interests me about this is how the attachment of the TV show is apparently so important to this production's success (which is considerable) that even the replacement actors need to be linked to it. Here I was assuming director Kathleen Marshall couldn't wait for Max and Laura to leave the show so she could cast really good people. (Perhaps some well deserving Broadway gypsies who needed a break.)

Instead, I suspect Marshall was offered a pick of all the runners-up. Which for her is at least better than submitting to an NBC plebiscite.

Oh, and you know that American Idol Taylor Hicks is also now in the show, right?

UPDATE 6/27: According to Riedel on Friday, Hicks has actually been a financial godsend to the production, claiming, " An insider says Hicks is worth at least $150,000 in extra ticket sales a week." Even better: "the "Grease" megamix at the end of the show - this is where the critics ran screaming from the theater - now runs 10 minutes, with Hicks singing the title song and then playing it on his harmonica."


Kristen said...

I have to argue that Ashley Spencer is a truly "good" performer! She has been in "Hairspray" on Broadway in a leading role for 8 shows a week for almost a year! She does an outstanding job as Amber, a role that requires her to sing, dance, and act. She is a phenomenal performer, and I don't think that Kathleen Marshall could find a better choice for "Sandy."

Anonymous said...

The addition of no-talent Taylor Hicks brought the show down, but the change in the leads won't take it down any further. In fact, these two people are better than some might think. It will be interesting to see how things will go together now.