Rob Mills and former Rockhampton girl Gretel Scarlett will star in Grease the Musical.
Rob Mills and former Rockhampton girl Gretel Scarlett will star in Grease the Musical. Matt Watson - Contributed by Ian Phipps Publicity

How our Gretel got to fill Sandy’s shoes in Grease musical

GRETEL Scarlett has come a long way since starring in school eisteddfods.

The Rockhampton native has jumped from ensemble and understudy roles straight into the lead role of John Frost's new multi-million-dollar production of Grease.

"It's been a pretty big ride just in the last two days," said Scarlett, who was unveiled as Sandy at a press call in Brisbane yesterday.

The talented beauty, who graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts four years ago, originally auditioned to be one of the pink ladies.

"Since graduating I've been an ensemble understudy and I thought I needed to try for a supporting character," she said.

"I went in for the audition and they responded really well.

"They said 'can you come back for the dance call', then they said 'here's some Sandy material'. I thought maybe they wanted me for understudy."

FLYING HIGH: A younger Gretel (as Gretel Jahnke) during her days in Rockhampton.
FLYING HIGH: A younger Gretel (as Gretel Jahnke) during her days in Rockhampton.

"Then they said 'can you come back next week, we'd like to fly you to Sydney to meet the producers' and I thought 'maybe they want to see a group of pink ladies'.

"The whole day I worked with the director on Sandy stuff, and then Mister Rob Mills came in. I was like 'what is going on?' I never once thought it was going to happen."

Scarlett admits she has big shoes to fill playing the character made famous by fellow Aussie Olivia Newton-John in the 1978 movie.

"That is possibly the scariest part of this whole experience," she said.

"She made it so iconic. Those are hard shoes to fill, but I'm really looking forward to getting into the style of Sandy."

She's also looking forward to starring opposite the "charming" Rob Mills, who will play Danny Zuko.

"I met Rob many years ago when I'd just graduated from WAAPA; he was the most charming guy ever," she said.

"But we never got to cross paths again. It was great to be in the room reading opposite him at the auditions. He's a joker."

Grease the Musical opens at QPAC's Lyric Theatre in Brisbane August 27.


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