Grease National Tour-Teen Angel

Flashy role ‘Taylorized’ made for American Idol champ

By Richard O Jones

Staff Writer-Middletown Journal

Friday, January 16, 2009

CINCINNATI ā€” Although he’s never done any acting, “American Idol” Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks thought that a Broadway show like “Grease” would be an effective lubricant for his career.

And even though his character, Teen Angel, has only one number in the show, Hicks was still able to make an auspicious acting debut suspended in an ice cream cone 45 feet over a Broadway stage.

On Jan. 20, he reprises that feat when the national tour of “Grease,” in which the American Idol plays the part of Teen Angel, the spirit that tries to convince Frenchy to finish high school.

“It was an intense way to start an acting career,” Hicks said. “But she stays in school every show, so I must be doing OK.”

He said he wanted to make the transition to acting slowly by taking a smallish, but flashy and important, part.

“I’d been offered bigger roles,” he said, “but for me, my career is a marathon, not a sprint, and I wanted to do something that I could build on. This particular role seemed a good way to do that.”

In addition to the grand entrance, Hicks said that he has been allowed to “Taylorize” the role ā€” both costume-wise and musically, including the insertion of a harmonica solo into “Beauty School Drop-Out.”

The tour also features Allie Schultz, a singer and actress who also first came to the national spotlight via a television talent contest, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want,” the series that prompted this production, which opened on Broadway on Aug. 19, 2007.

Though Schulz did not win the competition, she understudied the roles of Sandy, Cha-Cha and Patty on Broadway before joining the national tour in the role of Rizzo.

The tour also features Eric Schneider as “Danny” and Emily Padgett as “Sandy.” Schneider made his Broadway debut in “Jersey Boys” and has also appeared in “Altar Boyz” both off-Broadway and national tour. Padgett also comes from the Broadway cast of “Grease,” where she understudied Sandy. Her other credits include the national tours of “Cats” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”


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