Interview With Arlene Phillips As Grease The Musical Comes To Leeds Grand Theatre
Graham Clark, Features Writer
Leeds is the first port of call for Grease The Musical. Based on the popular 1978 film the stage production stars Dan Partridge (Danny) and Martha Kirby (Sandy). In selected performances Peter Andre appears as the Teen Angel.
Arlene Phillips has choreographed the show. I asked her about this new production, the first in 25 years and also about Leeds too.
Have you had chance to have a look around Leeds since you have been in the city?
I know Leeds really well, my sister lives up here, so I have spent many good times in Leeds. When I've been up here for the launch of Grease I have not had that much time to look around, as I've been so busy with the show. I was at the opening night at The Grand and the audience really got behind the show and sang along to every song.
Have you always been a fan of Grease?
Yes, I did another production of the show many years ago. The songs are fantastic, like I said at the opening night, the audience knew almost every song. A lot of hard work has gone into the show, when you see it all come to fruition it makes it all worthwhile. Musicals are on a high at the moment, audiences come out to enjoy a show, audiences though do not seem to differ in parts of the country, if it's a good show it does not matter where you are.
Is Peter Andre on at every performance?
He is only doing selected shows, so you might be lucky and see him. Ore Obuba who won Strictly Come Dancing is also playing Teen Angel. We are lucky though to have Ore in the show, though both artists are great artists and dancers.
What was in like in the late 1970's with Hot Gossip?
They were so ahead of their time and of course with Kenny Everett it was so outrageous. There was nothing like it and it broke all the moulds as at the time all the other dancers on TV wore these smiley happy faces, whereas Hot Gossip were quite different in that they were edgier, sexier and far more boulder. In a way they reflected the streets of London at that time, it was an era of a new generation, designers and fashion.
You choreographed a lot of pop music videos too?
Yes I did, there were so many. I loved Elton John and I'm Still Standing, Duran Duran and Wild Boys, the list goes on, Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston. I am very lucky to have done them.
Can you really teach anyone to dance?
I feel I can. People walk in time, one step at a time. Put me in a room with them and I will teach them how to do it. It does not matter what age you are, older people might have danced in the past but it soon reawakens the memories and they soon remember.
Do you ever see a show and think the dancing could be better?
I can't imagine going to a show and think that they could do better, the shows that I go to see are the ones I want to see and the dancing is always good.
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I love music, I have a very wide taste. Music reaches into your heart and soul, it brings back memories, the good and the bad, the sad. Music touches you in so many ways. I have loved doing Grease because of the music. A Mid Summers Night's Dream has recently opened in London so I have been really busy, so I might have a break and see what comes along next.
A lot of people have asked will I retire, I'm sure I will at some point but not at the moment as I am very excited about Grease in Leeds as the audiences have been great so far, I'm loving it.
Grease is at Leeds Grand Theatre until Saturday 20 July
Book online at
Telephone 0844 848 2700
Interview With Arlene Phillips As Grease The Musical Comes To Leeds Grand Theatre, 7th July 2019, 20:00 PM