Gretel Scarlett and Rob Mills star as Sandy and Danny in Grease the Musical.
Gretel Scarlett and Rob Mills star as Sandy and Danny in Grease the Musical. Jeff Busby

Grease is the word, and feel-good show of the year

THERE'S no rest for the nicest guy in Australian theatre, Rob Mills.

The actor went straight from his last performance in Legally Blonde The Musical to rehearsals for Grease the Musical, which debuts in Brisbane this monthAugust 20 before heading to Sydney and Melbourne.

"To go from a fun show to another fun show, I'm really lucky," Mills told APN.

"The (Grease) music director said to me the other day that the C chord is in it (the show) a lot, and the C chord is a happy chord. Something about the frequency makes you feel good; it's scientifically proven."

Producer John Frost's multi-million dollar revival of the iconic musical sees newcomer Gretel Scarlett, from Rockhampton, in her first leading role as Sandy opposite Mills.

He's full of praise for his co-star, who is sharing the stage with veteran performers like Bert Newton, Lucy Maunder, Todd McKenney and Anthony Callea.

"She's incredible," he said.

"I've worked with Lucy Durack in my last two big shows (Legally Blonde and Wicked), so those are pretty big shoes to fill. Just like Lucy, she's really professional. She's got her script down pat and she picks up stuff so quickly. She's a really warm and responsive actor. I just love her personality on stage as well. She's very funny."

And she doesn't just look the part of Sandy as a tall, beautiful blonde. Mills said theatre-goers will be blown away by Scarlett's voice.

"She has quite possibly one of the most amazing voices I've heard in my life," he said.

"We've been in the studio recording the cast album and she's just spot on. I was sitting in the studio with the producer and we were looking at each other shaking our heads at how crystal clear and beautiful her voice is."


For your chance to win two Gold Seating tickets to Grease the Musical on Saturday, August 24, at 1.30pm at QPAC's Lyric Theatre and one night's accommodation for two at Stamford Plaza on Saturday, August 24, please leave a comment below telling us your favourite personal memory related to Grease the movie.

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When I suggest he's going from playing one heartbreaker, Warner in Legally Blonde, to another who redeems himself in Grease, Mills is quick to defend Danny, a role he has coveted since landing an ensemble part in the last Australian production of Grease in 2005.

"He's just trying to find his way in the world," he said.

"He's the leader of a gang. He can't be all schmoozy.

"He thinks he's doing all the right things, so he's frustrated but still happy. He's frustrated in love. He's taking steps to impress her on the sly without his mates knowing. It's funny."

Mills sees Danny as a teenager stumbling through his first experience with love.

"What I'm going back to is the first time I fell in love in high school and how you want to spend every waking moment with them," he said.

"How even when they were angry with you ,you were still excited about it.

"That drive-in scene is just such a typical moment… the hormones just race. The guys want to go all the way and the girls go 'I just want to go steady'."

Paying homage to the 1978 movie which made Olivia Newton John a household name in the US, Scarlett will play Sandy with an Australian accent rather than the American accent the character has in the original stage show.

"We had a frank and open discussion about how important the movie is to Australians, and how patriotic we become about it," Mills said.

"This movie really did put Australia on the map as far as America goes."

Grease the Musical plays a strictly limited seven-week season at QPAC's Lyric Theatre from August 20 to October 4.

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