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Behind the Scenes of Grease with Louise Willoughby

By DavidFriday 12th August 2016

Louise Willoughby plays Jan. Louise Willoughby plays Jan.

Entertainment is a big part of the Royal Caribbean experience and we’ve got a long history of putting on some of the best shows on the seas. From our jaw-dropping aqua shows to our high-tech Roboshows, we pride ourselves on pushing the boundaries and keeping our guests entertained in new and exciting ways.

The latest addition to our enviable entertainment programme is the tale of two lovebirds: Grease, which started life on Harmony of the Seas. This show-stopping Broadway-style musical has been wowing audiences since July 2016, so we decided to go behind the scenes to interview a few of the cast members. First up is Louise Willoughby, who plays Jan.

The show has been specially adapted for Royal Caribbean. The show has been specially adapted for Royal Caribbean.

1. How did it feel to be selected as a cast member?

The audition process was very long – there were several rounds, dance calls, singing calls and script reading – so when I got the call from my agent I was so happy, I cried. Grease was the first West End show I ever saw – when I was seven years old – and I’ve always said that I’d love to be in it one day. Now here I am!

2. What did you want to be when you were little?

I always wanted to be in musicals. I started playing piano when I was six, then I started singing and taking dance and drama classes. I eventually went on to attend drama school in London. I've never wanted to do anything else and I don't think I ever will.

3. How long were you in rehearsals for Grease?

We were rehearsing at the Royal Caribbean studios in Miami for two months, but some of that time was spent on the other two shows as well. We then had a month of ‘install’ onboard, during which we do technical rehearsals to get used to the set, the lights and the costumes before we perform for an audience. So it's a long process to get the show up and running.

5. What's it like performing on a ship?

It can definitely be challenging, especially when the ocean is rocky. You have to be a lot more aware of the people around you onstage, as you can end up taking a few extra steps than you're supposed to. However, the audience is always great and the shows are brilliant, so it's amazing.

6. What do you love about Grease?

I grew up watching the film, singing along to the songs and making up dances – I knew all the words before I even started rehearsals! The 1950s costumes are wonderful, the set design is really bright and colourful and it’s funny, too, so everyone will have a great time.

8. If you could play any character in any show, which character would it be and why?

It would be Elphaba in Wicked, because it's such an incredible role for an actress. If I could play any other role in Grease, it would be Rizzo, who I actually understudy. I think it's probably every girl’s dream to play Rizzo and sing ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’, as it's such an amazing song. Hopefully our Rizzo will never get sick, but if she does, I'll be ready!

9. What's your favourite Grease song and why?

My favourite song is actually one that I sing with Kristian Morse, who plays Roger. It’s called 'Mooning' and it’s such a lovely song. It's not in the film, only the musical and I love it, so I’m really happy I get to sing it. According to Louise, everyone will love Grease. According to Louise, everyone will love Grease.

10. Which guests will love Grease?

Grease is for anyone of any age. Kids will love the music and the dancing, teenagers will be able to relate to the characters. At the same time, adults and older guests will either remember the original film or remember life in the 50s.

11. What's it like backstage?

Backstage is kind of crazy, especially during a show! Set pieces are flying here, there and everywhere. There are costumes and props, stage staff, a full orchestra and 23 cast members, but that's why we have rehearsals… so everyone knows what's happening and nobody trips over a costume or runs into someone else.

12. Which destination are you most looking forward to seeing?

As this is my fourth contract with Royal Caribbean, I've actually been to many of the ports, so it will be nice to just wander around and relax. That said, we’re going to Jamaica, which I’ve never visited before, so I’m really looking forward to it. I can't wait for those beaches!

See Grease onboard

 Grease is currently showing on Harmony of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, so book your spot today.

Next month, we go Behind the Scenes of Grease with Bradley Judge, who plays Sonny. 

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