GREASE – Begins Tonight At The Golden Gate Theatre

American Idol winner Taylor Hicks stars as “Teen Angel”

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

GREASE, starring American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, plays the Golden Gate Theatre beginning tonight, March 24th through Sunday, April 19th. Taylor Hicks made his debut on Broadway in the role of “Teen Angel” last summer. This is a new production of GREASE and it will feature songs from the smash hit motion picture from 1978 performed for the first time ever in a Broadway production. Tickets are on sale now at the GOLDEN GATE THEATRE.

TAYLOR HICKS as Teen Angel. Photo, Larry Busacca

TAYLOR HICKS as Teen Angel. Photo, Larry Busacca

Taylor Hicks achieved widespread fame in 2006 as a contestant on American Idol. On May 24, 2006, Hicks was named the winner of the fifth season of “Idol” with over 63.4 million votes in total. Winning the title over Katharine McPhee, the announcement was made during the finale aired live to a worldwide audience of over 200 million viewers.

KATHARINE MCPHEE and TAYLOR HICKS

KATHARINE MCPHEE and TAYLOR HICKS

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Taylor Hicks’ passion for music began at an early age. He toured the Southeastern Unites States during his teenage years and released two independent albums. Known for his energetic performances with influences derived from classic soul, blues and R&B music, he quickly grew a large fan base among the millions of viewers and voters who tuned in to “Idol” each week. His fans ultimately dubbed themselves the “Soul Patrol.”

Immediately following “Idol,” Hicks signed a recording contract with 19 Records Limited / Arista Records. His debut single, “Do I Make You Proud,” debuted in the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and was subsequently certified Gold. His eponymous debut album, Taylor Hicks was released on December 12, 2006 and debuted in the #2 spot on the Billboard 200 charts and was later certified as a Platinum Album. After signing a book deal with Random House, Hicks’ memoir Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way was released in July of 2007. Taylor’s next studio album, The Distance, is available on March 10, 2009.

DOMINIC FORTUNA as Vince Fontaine and Company. Photo, Joan Marcus

DOMINIC FORTUNA as Vince Fontaine and Company. Photo, Joan Marcus

Starring with Taylor Hicks will be Eric Schneider as “Danny” and Emily Padgett as “Sandy.” Eric made his Broadway debut in Jersey Boys. His previous credits include Altar Boyz (Off-Broadway) and the national tours of Altar Boyz and The Full Monty. Emily made her Broadway debut in GREASE, where she understudied the role of Sandy. Her other credits include Legally Blonde on Broadway and the national tours of CATS. Starring as “Rizzo” will be Allie Schulz, a contestant on NBC’s “Grease: You’re the One That I Want.” Allie comes directly from the Broadway company of GREASE.

The tour also stars Scot Patrick Allan as “Eugene,” Will Blum as “Roger,” Bridie Carroll as “Jan,” Kate Morgan Chadwick as “Frenchy,” Brian Crum as “Doody,” Kelly Felthous as “Marty,” Dominic Fortuna as “Vince Fontaine,” Erin Henry as “Patty Simcox,” Roxie Lucas as “Miss Lynch,” David Ruffin as “Kenickie,” and Nick Verina as “Sonny.” The ensemble features Joseph Corella, Preston Ellis, Melissa Larsen, Ruby Lewis, Lisa Maietta, Dayla Perkins, Mark Raumaker, Mike Russo, Matthew William Schmidt and Brooke Stone.

GREASE Touring Company, Photo. Joan Marcus

GREASE Touring Company, Photo. Joan Marcus

This new production of GREASE, which opened on Broadway on Sunday, August 19, 2007, was born out of NBC’s landmark talent competition TV series, “Grease: You’re The One That I Want.” The weekly talent competition drew 90 million viewers, and America voted for its favorite contestants to play the lead roles of Sandy and Danny on Broadway. Directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town), GREASE features book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

EMILY PADGETT as Sandy and Company. Photo, Joan Marcus

EMILY PADGETT as Sandy and Company. Photo, Joan Marcus

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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