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The ones that they want?

A slew of wannabe participants in a reality show leading to a revival of `Grease' strut stuff at Venice tryouts.

November 11, 2006|Lynne Heffley | Times Staff Writer

Hundreds of hopelessly devoted fans of the musical "Grease" -- many in poodle skirts or T-shirts and leather jackets -- converged on Venice High School on Friday, eager to be the one that they want for a new Broadway show.

Breaking into song and impromptu dance steps as cameras panned the scene, would-be Sandy Dumbrowskis and Danny Zukos lined up to audition for NBC's reality series "Grease: You're the One That I Want!," hosted by Billy Bush. The winners will star in a revival of the 1950s-era musical, slated to open in June.

Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall, who will direct and choreograph the new musical; "Grease" co-creator Jim Jacobs; and theater producer David Ian will serve as judges. Ian also produced the BBC reality show "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?," which tapped an actress for the lead in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End revival of "The Sound of Music."

"If I get this chance, I'd put everything on hold," said Angela Sanicola, 23, a substitute teacher from Lake Elsinore. "I played Sandy in high school."

Grant Whitmer, 31, a Navy officer for the last 10 years, made the drive from San Diego. "I wish I could have chased the Broadway dream" after high school, he said.

Earlier auditions in New York and Chicago netted about 30 contenders, Jacobs said. Up to 50 will be sent to "Grease Academy." Their travails will be televised on the show, to begin Jan. 7. Twelve finalists will compete for viewers' votes.

"The killer is that there are so many people who adore this show and want to be part of it, but they don't have the skills," Marshall said.

"And then there are the eccentrics who just want to get on television, like the guy in Chicago wearing the Lone Ranger mask."

lynne.heffley@latimes.com

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