Grease: Linking Broadway to TV

July 14, 2007–“Grease” has made about $14.2 million in advance ticket sales due to the NBC casting competition, “Grease: You're the One That I Want,” which had a run that began in January. The revival begins previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theater July 24 for an Aug. 19 opening.

Some of that advance can be attributed to the popularity of “Grease” itself. Ratings for the “You're the One That I Want” didn't impress, and its populist casting approach, in which viewers voted on the two thesps to score lead roles, provoked criticsim.

But “You're the One” repped the first U.S. attempt to link a theater production to the craze for performance-oriented reality TV like “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

And the box office afterglow of such legit-based TV fare, both in the U.K. and Stateside, looks likely to prompt theater producers and creatives to explore other ways to tie the brand of Broadway to the marketing muscle of the tube.

Producers had been discussing a revival of “Grease” when the idea for the TV show was sparked by the success last year of the BBC's “How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria” That show chronicled the casting process of a West End revival of “The Sound of Music.” And the audience-chosen star, Connie Fisher, won unexpected critical raves for her perf when the show opened in November.