Speaking of Broadway-casting reality shows and Kentucky, University of Kentucky graduate Derek Keeling is going to make his Broadway debut in Grease as Danny Zuko after all.
Keeling and Ashley Spencer will go on as Danny and Sandy Tuesday night, succeeding Max Crumm and Laura Osnes, who won the roles on the NBC reality competition series, Grease: You're the One That I Want, in the winter of 2007. Osnes and Crumm debuted in the Broadway revival of Grease last summer. Spencer was the runner up to Osnes. Keeling finished third behind Crumm and Texan Austin Miller. The winners were decided solely by audience votes.
Since the show, Keeling has been involved in a number of projects, including a musical version of A Tale of Two Cities that debuted in Sarasota last fall and opens on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre Aug. 19. Aaron Lazar will play Charles Darnay, the role Keeling had in Sarasota.
Keeling's hometown paper, The Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia, reports a healthy contingent of family and friends are heading to New York for Keeling's debut. His biography on the Grease website mentions his UK degree. Keeling and Spencer will be sharing the stage with American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, who is playing Teen Angel.
Above: Spencer and Keeling as Sandy and Danny. Photo courtesy of Barlow-Hartman Public Relations.