Andrew Lloyd Webber’s loss is David Ian’s gain

TV talent shows have not only boosted the fortunes of the music industry. West End theatre has become increasingly reliant on TV talent and casting shows to generate a new generation of recognisable faces to join the casts of long-running shows.

David Ian’s Grease The Musical – which was itself cast through 2007 ITV talent show Grease Is The Word – has seen Ray Quinn (discovered on The X-Factor, winner of Dancing on Ice) play Danny, and has now cast Over The Rainbow runner-up Lauren Samuels in the part of Sandy in the long-running show.

Lauren trained at the Guildford School of Acting where her roles included Esta in Moby Dick! The Musical, Grace in Anyone Can Whistle, Sarah in Bitter Sweet and Frances in The Matchgirls.

Earlier this year she auditioned for Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s BBC One talent search Over The Rainbow to find a Dorothy for his new production of The Wizard of Oz – starting next year at the London Palladium. She rose up through the weeks of auditions and live shows to get to third place in the contest, attracting many millions of followers on the way.

Last year she made her professional stage debut as Wendy in the Christmas production of Peter Pan at the Curve in Leicester.

Lauren will join the cast of Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre from 26 July.

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