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164294.  Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:51 pm Reply with quote

Forgive me for re-posting this from my post last year, but it's very current due to a prime time TV show on the subject. Shows we've got finger on the pulse and so on.

Who first found fame playing Danny Zuko, the lead role in the musical Grease?

Forfeit: John Travolta

Answer: Richard Gere

Although John Travolta became an international megastar after appearing as Danny Zuko in the classic hip-swivelling 1978 movie Grease!, it was a young Richard Gere who first found fame as Danny in the original Broadway musical in 1972. Although he was initially an understudy to former circus performer Barry Bostwick's Danny, Gere was deemed good enough to take the role when the show opened in London in 1973.
Gere was an instant hit, and was invited to join the Young Vic Company for a season - very rare for an American - and played in the likes of The Taming Of The Shrew.
Intriguingly Travolta had already performed in the show before taking the part of Danny in the movie; in the 1971 tour across the US and Canada the 17 year old Travolta played Doody, the the nerdy kid who idolises Danny.

Other Q.I. factoids:
Grease was released in Mexico under the name 'Vaselina'.
The film was released in Spain as Brillantina (Brilliantine) because its English title translated as "fat" in Spanish.
The show premiered in an experimental theatre in Chicago on February 5th 1971 : an all-amateur cast in a former tram shed, with newspapers for seats.
The scene in Frenchy's bedroom while Rizzo is singing the line about Elvis Presley was actually filmed the same day that Presley died.


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