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Lucy Lawless steps out on Broadway in 'Grease!'

Grease September 30, 1997
Web posted at: 11:17 a.m. EDT (1517 GMT)

From Correspondent Bill Tush

NEW YORK (CNN) -- As "Xena, Warrior Princess," Lucy Lawless has captured the attention of millions of TV viewers. But her acting career doesn't just revolve around a TV sound stage anymore. The native New Zealander has become a road warrior.

In July, she joined forces with TV's "Hercules," Kevin Sorbo, to open a new attraction at Universal Studios in Florida.

See Lawless in "Grease!"
video icon 507K/13 sec. QuickTime movie
video icon 1.4M/13 sec. QuickTime movie

And now, she's traveled through time from ancient Greece to New York City to debut in the hit Broadway musical "Grease!". As bad girl Betty Rizzo, Lawless follows in the footsteps of such familiar names as Brooke Shields and Rosie O'Donnell.


Two hours before showtime, her fans already were lining up to meet their heroine. And lest there be any doubt, at least one young fan hanging out on Broadway made it clear that she was there to see Lawless because of her portrayal of Xena, not Rizzo.

Nonetheless, Lawless is clearly getting a kick out of playing the "Grease!" character.

"I hadn't seen anyone else's performance apart from Stockard Channing in the movie," Lawless said of Rizzo, "so I had nothing to compare it to.

"I don't feel like I'm trying to fill anybody's boots, and now I'm not spending every waking moment thinking, my God, I've got to go on stage and do that all over again. I'm having a lot more fun, just really enjoying, I just love the company I'm working with."

Watch a scene from "Xena"
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The rest of the cast of "Grease!" agrees -- they love Lucy. "She's so much fun, she fit right in," said Dierdre O'Neil, who plays Marty. "She loves to mess around and take chances and does a great job, all in one package."

Lawless as Rizzo

"And a beautiful woman, I might add, to play opposite," said costar Sean McDermot (Danny in the play). "I get to dance with her every night, and I just look into those beautiful blue eyes and say, 'my God, I'm such a lucky guy.'"

Oddly enough, Lawless says the dancing is the hardest part for her. "I can dance as Lucy, but to fit into somebody else's choreography is tricky."

Lawless' hopelessly devoted fans could care less if she misses a step. After all, she's the one they want.


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