Only Olivia Fan Club

Date With Olivia Is As Hot as 'Grease'

Aussie pop star ready for a one-night stand at Tropicana

By PHIL ROURA, April 30, 2000, Showtime

How hopelessly devoted are Olivia Newton-John's fans? Consider this:

Up until last summer, it had been 16 years since the Australian songbird toured the United States but she pulled in standing-room-only crowds at every stop on the 10-week trek. The touring was so successful that Newton-John who has always hated performing before live audiences was coaxed to do it again in 2000.

She agreed, but only after the organizers pared the performances to three nights here and two nights there with pauses, so she could spend some quality time with her 14-year-old daughter at their home-away-from-home in L.A.

The tour arrives in Atlantic City on Friday for a one-nighter at the Tropicana. As testament to her popularity, the Trop has scaled the massive Showroom at $75 to $95 a ticket at one of the city's more expensive shows. It's her second visit to the city in 12 months.

Why such a quick reprise after more than a decade away from the States? What caused her to stay away, initially?

"Well, first of all I decided to get married and then I had a baby. That was 14 years ago, and now that she is a teenager I am able to travel more," says Newton-John from her California residence, which she maintains although she still calls Australia home. "Then, I was always wary of live performances. I wasn't comfortable [in that venue], nor did I like the traveling. But in 1997, Cliff Richard asked me to be a guest on his Australian tour and, for some reason, I agreed. And I found it to be good, clean fun. "Finally, when I did the 1999 U.S. tour I had a good time."

Perhaps the fact that Newton-John, who captivated movie fans with "Grease" (1978) and "Xanadu" (1980), is now 51 has something to do with it. That, and the fact that she has survived breast cancer surgery (1992) and a failed marriage to actor Matt Lattanzi. "We're still very good friends and we share in the rearing of our daughter, Chloe. As for the cancer, while I'm feeling fine and have had no recurrences, getting the disease does make you pause and think and value life all the more."

She had just heard the news about Rudy Giuliani's prostrate cancer and offered a bit of advice to the mayor. "Anybody who has cancer must slow down. It is very frightening. You have no idea how frightening it is to learn you have cancer. The first thing he owes himself is to take care of himself. He has to focus on getting well. I don't know if he is a spiritual man or not, but he should find something to focus on. Then, on top of his medical treatment, and I'm sure he has the best doctors, he should consider alternate therapy to help with his immune system. You have to try everything."

An outspoken environmentalist, Newton-John is convinced that the rise in cancer can be attributed to what mankind is putting into the atmosphere. In fact, she serves as the spokeswoman for the Children's Health and Environmental Coalition. But when she's touring, it's the music that fuels Newton-John's passion. "Of course, I sing the hits," she says. "That's what people come to hear. But I also include some other material and at least one song that I wrote about the environment, called 'Don't Cut Me Down.' "You know," she says after a pause. "I guess that can apply to a lot of things."

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last updated January 13, 2003