Ruth Eckerd Hall - Clearwater, FL.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

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St. Petersberg Times February 27, 2009
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Olivia Newton-John, hot pants and us

Remember that scene in Grease, when Olivia Newton-John's virginal Sandy realizes that the only way to seduce John Travolta's randy Danny was through the power of hot pants? Yeah, it's sacred to SIT80s co-host Sean Daly and me too.

So imagine the delight with which we faced interviewing ONJ on the phone this week. The blond, blue-eyed Grammy winner will play Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 3. And even after our flirty, sometimes a little naughty, interview, she still invited us backstage to meet her. ("Tell me about it ... stud.") For 30 years, we've always wanted to ask you this: When you filmed Grease, were you more "good Sandy" or "bad Sandy?"

"Aww, I’m not telling you."

What?! You have to tell us!

"When I first read the script, I was really nervous about the second character, because I never played anyone like that. But once I got the clothes on, it just came naturally."

Yes. The hot pants. Very nice. On the Oscars, Hugh Jackman declared that musicals are back. We're thinking this is the perfect time for you to return to the big screen.

"Goodness, that would be fun. That would be wonderful."

Maybe you can reunite with Grease co-star John Travolta? Do you guys still talk?

"Yeah, we stay in touch. We have a wonderful friendship going back a long way, and we'll always have that."

Speaking of a long way back, you started as country singer, then you became the biggest pop star on the planet, and now you're rediscovering your roots. In concert do you rework the old hits to fit your current sound?

"Basically I don't change things much because I remember when I was a young girl and I went to see one of my favorite singers and I wanted to hear the songs the way I remembered them. And she changed them. And I thought, gosh, if I'm ever lucky enough to be that successful I'll remember to do my songs the way they want to hear them."

Who was that singer?

[Laughing] "I'm not telling."

Please tell us you have Xanadu songs on the set list.

"Of course I do! I love those songs."

We both owned that soundtrack on vinyl and CD. You'll see us singing along from Row M.

"So I can remember the words by watching your lips!"

Steve here loves your song Suddenly, your duet with Cliff Richard. In fact he sings it at his desk once a day, which is highly annoying. y, which is highly annoying.

"That is a beautiful song. I sang it on my last tour, but the wonderful singer who does it with me couldn't come on this tour, so I’m not doing Suddenly. But I sing so many other ones. Mention some other songs!"

How about Twist of Fate?

"God, you like all the rock n' roll, don’t you? Now I'm going to have to talk to my band and revise my set list and all."

You probably have men come up to you all the time and talk about their crushes. Do women also confess that you shaped their teenage style?

"I do actually. I find it a compliment. Absolutely."