Since playing Danny Zuko in Grease on the 2019 and 2021 tours as well as last year’s West End run, Dan Partridge is currently reprising his leading role in the show’s return to the Dominion Theatre, booking until the 28th October. Dan works alongside a cast including Olivia Moore as Sandy, and during his time in the musical so far, he has performed at the Olivier Awards, Magic at the Musicals and recently on This Morning. Other stage roles for Dan has seen him play Rum Tum Tugger in CATS in the 2019 European Tour and the 40th Anniversary South Korean Tour in 2020, Link Larkin in the Hairspray UK Tour, cover Rusty and Electra in Starlight Express in Germany, and make his West End debut in MAMMA MIA! as Pepper at the Novello Theatre. Later this year, Dan is playing Randolph Scott in the Archie mini-series for ITV and BritBox, which is based on the life of Hollywood actor Cary Grant. Chatting to Dan, he told us about playing Danny Zuko in Grease at the Dominion Theatre, his time as Rum Tum Tugger in CATS and being in the cast of Starlight Express.
You have recently opened in Grease at the Dominion Theatre, reprising your role of Danny Zuko, what are you looking forward to for the new run in London and what is the musical like to be part of?
It’s wonderful to be back working on Grease, it’s a show very close to my heart. I’ve been very excited to work with a new set of actors to find new choices in the script.
What is Danny Zuko like to play and how has it been returning to the character?
It’s a very fun role, especially in this new version of the show. I’m kept very busy with tonnes of scenes, and of course great to have the iconic moments that everyone looks forward to.
Do you have a favourite scene or song to perform and what is it like seeing the audience response to the musical?
I love singing Sandy. I also really love feeling the energy shift in the theatre when Sandy says, ‘Tell me about it stud’ and the intro to You’re The One That I Want starts playing. I can always feel the audience trying not to join in!
What is it like working alongside Olivia Moore as Sandy and performing with the rest of the cast?
Working with Olivia is a lot of fun, we are always laughing every show! This new cast are fantastic. The energy on stage every night is effervescent, and very youthful. No two shows are the same, and every night we have such a laugh.
How was it performing at this year’s Olivier Awards and Magic at the Musicals?
Closing the Olivier Awards was an experience I will never forget. It was a lot of pressure performing with so many famous faces looking back at you, but I am so proud of our performance from that night. Magic at the Musicals was also extremely memorable. To have performed at the Royal Albert Hall is a dream come true. Doing it twice in a month is amazing!
You first played Danny Zuko on the UK Tour of Grease, what did you enjoy most about touring with the musical in 2019 and 2021 and was there anything that originally drew you to the show?
I loved how the role had been rewritten. The new interpretation really unpacked the character and laid bare all the insecurities and inner workings of who he really is. There is a lot more social commentary of the era the piece is set in, and I was very excited to explore that working with our director, Nikolai Foster.
Why would you recommend booking tickets to see Grease at the Dominion Theatre and who do you think will enjoy the production?
It is the perfect night out. The audience come for the songs and the iconography of the show, then they stay for the dazzling choreography and vocals!
You played Rum Tum Tugger in CATS on the 2019 European Tour and the 40th Anniversary South Korean Tour in 2020, what was it like taking on the role of Rum Tum Tugger and how was it performing in the show?
I loved working on CATS. Performing the iconic Gillian Lynne’s choreography every night was absolutely wonderful. Tugger is a part I had always wanted to play, so when I was originally cast, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do with it.
What are some of your favourite memories from playing Link Larkin in the Hairspray UK Tour?
I only toured the show for a couple of months, but my memories of the show are very dear. It is a very well-written show, so I really enjoyed the scene work, and putting my own spin on the character.
What was it like covering the roles of Rusty and Electra in Starlight Express and what was the show like to do?
Starlight Express was probably the most memorable job I have done. Moving to Germany for 16 months was a life-changing experience, and the show gave me so much. I learned how to roller skate for one, but also made friends for life. It was extremely demanding, but I found it to be an extremely rewarding contract.
How was it making your West End debut in MAMMA MIA! at the Novello Theatre as Pepper?
Working on MAMMA MIA! was a real dream come true. It was my first big job out of drama school, and I had to wait almost a year after I had graduated to land it. I was auditioning for tonnes of different shows, getting very close but then narrowly missing out. I got the offer through for MAMMA MIA!, and it meant so much to me that I loved every moment of working on the show.
On screen, you will be playing Randolph Scott in the upcoming TV series Archie, is there anything you can tell us about filming for this and what are you looking forward to for the release?
Archie is going to be a mini-series released on ITV and BritBox about the life of Hollywood actor Cary Grant. I loved filming for the show and am very excited for the release. The rest will have to remain under wraps!
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
I have always sung, but acting came to me when I was about 12. I joined a local youth theatre, and it was certainly the outlet in my life that gave me the most joy. When I realised you could make a living from it, I decided to commit myself to forging a career in it!
What are some of your favourite theatre shows to watch and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?
I like to mix up the kinds of shows I watch. Living in London, we are privy to such a variety I try to get to see as much as possible. I’m not sure if I will get to see it before it closes, but I would love to see Dear England at the National Theatre, directed by Rupert Goold.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I am a very keen cook and a big music fan so my days usually consist of me dancing around the kitchen to the radio!
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