THE DAILY NEWS, HUNTINGDON, PA. ENTERTAINMENT NEWS SATURDAY, JANUARY 6, 2007 Section A — Page 11 'High School MusicaP star Corbin Bleu is in concert and back on TV with new movie By LYNN ELDER AP Television Writer L9S ANGELES (AP) — Corbin Bleu is living a rock star's life, or at least a well- scrubbed Disney version. The 17-year-old actor of "High School Musical" fame is on a nationwide concert tour that's delivering the young cast of Disney Channel's hit TV movie to fans, who amount to horde status at each stop. The 40-city schedule is hectic, the bus travel is taxing and the audiences are in full scream. To hear Bleu tell it, there isn't enough time — or energy — for outrageous rocker misbehavior. "At this moment, I am ready to fall," Bleu said by phone from New York, a few hours before a Long Island concert. "Last night, we finished our show (in Washington, attended by 14,000-plus), got on the bus, drove until 4 in the morning to get here, then woke up to go to a hotel. "At 6:30 a.m., we got up to do 'Good Morning America.' Then we came here to do the show," he said. "The thing is, I'm having so much fun that it's hard to notice when my adrenaline goes." In between the concerts, which began in San Diego in late November and are set to end Jan. 29 in Los Angeles, Bleu is promoting a new Disney Channel movie, "Jump In!", debuting Friday, Jan. 12. This time, he's the star. "That sounds so weird, that kind of thing," he said, laughing at the heady title being affixed to him. It's among the refreshingly unstudied reactions from Bleu, who is poised beyond his years but comes across like an actual teenager (of the good- natured variety). He plays a younger boy, Izzy, in "Jump In!", about a 14-year- old New Yorker from a long line of boxing champions who's expected to keep the tradition alive. He's on board until he discovers another, very different sport — double-Dutch jump rope. Far removed from the realm of typical playground games, the athletic version uses two ropes moving at rapid-fire speed and relies on gymnastics, martial-arts moves and complex dance steps. AP Photo/DtMMy Channel/JOHN MEDLAND David Reivers, left, and Corbin Bleu act in a scene from the Disney Channel's original movie "Jump In!," which premieres Friday, Jan. 12. There's a gulf as well between the frothy "High School Musical," in which he played a basketball hotshot, and "Jump In!", Bleu said. The new movie is "a whole different tone, more gritty, more urban. Even the look of the movie is darker," he said. "What I'm hoping is (fans) see I can play a jock who's always up, but can play more a soft-spoken edgier guy. I'm just hoping it can show my different characters." Bleu still boasts his glorious mop of hair in the film, which co-stars Keke Palmer ("Akeelah and the Bee") and an actor close to Bleu's heart, his real-life dad, David Reivers. Reivers, who has appeared in TV series including "24," "My Name is Earl" and "Charmed" and in "Poseidon" and other films, plays Izzy's dad, a former boxer who's unsettled by his son's decision to abandon the family pursuit. Working with his father, who's also his longtime acting coach, was a goal for Bleu: "I look up to him so much. I •always said the three ^people I want to work : wiw%e Johnny' Depp, Denzel Washington and my dad. There's one off my list." Reivers, accompanying Bleu on the tour, returns the compli- ment. He and his wife, Martha, also have three daughters. "It was probably the best working experience of my life. Coaching Corbin his whole life, we know each other," said Reivers, who calls Bleu "an old soul" and proudly deems him one of the best young actors around. Both Reivers and Bleu — who dropped the family name so the two could have separate professional identities — appreciated the movie's portrayal of a black man, a widower, who is devoted to his children. "People don't get to see positive African-American father figures (in movies) really work- ing hard to raise their kids in positive ways and not have it be about drugs or alcohol or something negative," Reivers said. Bleu was literally carried into acting on his father's shoulders: When Reivers was auditioning for roles in New York he would bring Bleu along in a knapsack. Soon, the father's agents were suggesting the photogenic boy try for his own gigs. He started appearing in print ads and commercials at age 2, then moved on to films (including "Catch That Kid," "Galaxy Quest" and "Soldier"), stage ("Footloose," "Grease") and TV ("Flight 29 Down," "Hannah Montana" and "Malcolm & Eddie"). The work "was playtime, it was Corbin getting to be around people and adults, which he was so used to and so loved doing," Reivers said. "But at the same time, my wife and I always made sure that school was important." Although Bleu attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (finishing work for his degree with home schooling) and studied dance with Debbie Allen, he planned on becoming a pediatrician until a year ago. After attending a program at John Hopkins University that immerses students in medicine, he realized he had to pick between his passions. "The decision was tough; medicine is something I love. But I love acting way too much and I wouldn't give it up for the world," he said. He's also added singing to his repertoire, with the concert tour and his own CD coming out. Bleu is living a dream that materializes for few, his father said. "Starting with the success of 'High School Musical,' my speech to him has been, 'Really enjoy the moment.' ... You may have a successful career after this, but you may never have anything like this. So take what you can from this and enjoy the ride." The teenager says he gets it, and so do his concert co-stars Lucas Grabeel, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale. "We all realized that this is a huge moment in our career right now, and you never know happens. Is it going to continue or stop, So we're just all taking in every single moment, from being up on that stage to riding the bus." On the Net: http:www//disney.go.com/di sneychannel http://www.highschoolmusi- cal.aeglive.com New reality series seeks newcomers to star as Sandy and Danny in Broadway revival of 'Grease' By BRIDGET BYRNE For The Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Slick on the hair gel, break out the pink poodle skirts and black leather jackets, rev up that T- Bird. America's original high- school musical is looking for two new stars. When "Grease" is revived on Broadway this summer, lead characters Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko (Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in the movie version) will be played by the winners of the new TV reality show, "Grease: YoU're the -One that I Want." The series debuts Sunday, 8 p.m. EST on NBC. Titled after one of the movie version's more memorable Uniform Construction Code Update Seminar For all contractors & others affected by the UCC (Those issuing building permits, loan officers, code enforcement officers & Realtors, etc.) Thursday, January 18 ~ 6-9 p.m. (Snow Dole: Thursday, January 25) Huntingdon County Career & Technology Center Mill Creek Seminar instructors are experts from Guardian Inspection Services & the Pennsylvania Builders Association Cesfc $25 fer each HCBA member $35 for eech non-member $10 lor nm township er bereuih official $51er oach additional twp. er bereuih official from seme offlco. Sponsored by the Huntingdon County Builders Association Register at 644-0621, email@example.com or at the door. Send payment to HCBA at Box 399, Huntingdon or at the door, songs, this talent competition follows the audition process for the roles of the naive good girl and the slick cool greaser in the 1970s musical, which led to a wave of nostalgia for the teen culture of the '50s. "The idea of this is that Broadway traditionally is a pretty closed shop, and this is the biggest open casting call in Broadway history," says Al Edgington, the co-executive producer of the series, which is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. "You don't have to know anyone, you don't have to be connected, you don't'have'to be born into it," Edgington adds. "Anyone who thinks they've got what it takes can come along." He acknowledged, with a laugh, that there were a few hopefuls who "clearly had been practicing in front of the mirror singing into a hairbrush," but that most of the applicants had some musical training. "One thing I think the producers of the TV show are realizing is that there are theater skills you can refine and finesse, but musical theater skills take a long time to develop," says Kathleen Marshall, who will direct and choreograph the Broadway production. Marshall thinks the show is unique because "there is a real prize at the end of it. Whoever wins is going to star on Broadway. It's not just 'Oh, thank you very much, here's your trophy, and your check' and then you're sent on your way with a pat on the head. You have to deliver beyond that. So it's a lot of pressure." The BBC also created "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" a very successful British talent series that discovered Connie Fisher (who had studied musical theater, but had been working in telemarketing) to play the lead role of Maria von Trapp in the current London YOU NEED TO KNOW AP Photo/NBC Universal, DEAN HENDLER Talent judges from the left, Jim Jacobs, Kathleen Marshall and David Ian watch an audition by an unidentified contestant in the new NBC reality program "Grease: You're the One That I Want." Capitalizing on the title of one of the songs in "Grease," this talent competition series is actually looking for two young performers who can sing, dance and act in a Broadway production of "Grease." ,. so check every day for the latest sports highlights. THE DAILY NEWS 643-4040 revival of "The Sound of Music." Fisher confounded skeptics by earning rave reviews. Edgington is hoping to have the same sort of luck with the casting call for "Grease," a show he calls "so iconic for everyone in this country." "Access Hollywood" co- anchor Billy Bush shares host duties on the reality show, along with British TV personality and musical star Denise Van Outen. Newton-John will make guest appearances the first two shows. Bush notes that "Grease" is "the original high-school musical, a story that's endured forever. ... It's just a classic and I knew with a prize this big, people to win the lead roles on Broadway, it had to be a hit, and it had to be a lot of FUN! ... I think it could be really, really, really, really exciting." The first episode will be a collection of auditions held in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, which led to about 55 performers going to a "Grease Academy," where they trained for a week with Marshall. That group was cut to 24, who performed in a showcase in front of an invited audience, which included some performers connected with the show on stage and screen over the years. The 12 finalists — split evenly between guys and gals — will then compete during six live episodes to become the winning duo. d'sh Marshall, who won a Tony last year for her choreography of "The Pajama Game," is also one of the three judges on the TV series, whose opinions will count alongside audience votes. The other judges are theatrical producer David Ian and co-creator of the musical, Jim Jacobs. "Hopefully, we are trying to be honest, but also encouraging," says Marshall of the judges' duties. But she stresses the panel must be realistic about performers' talents because, "We are all, of course, heavily invested in the outcome. Once the TV show goes off the air, that's just the beginning for us. We have to turn around and create a Broadway show." So does Marshall worry that no one will make the grade? "It's always a little bit of a gamble at any Broadway audition that, 'Gee, I hope that spark of what I saw at their audition is Just the tip of the iceberg and that there's more there,'" she explains. "Grease" already has had two marathon runs on Broadway. The original production arrived in 1972, closing in 1980 after more than 3,000 performances. The revival, starring Rosie O'Donnell as Betty Rizzo, opened in 1994 and ran for more than 1,500 performances. Ironically, neither featured the song "You're the One That I Want," which was written for the enormously successful 1978 film version. The song later topped the pop charts. One question to be answered: Will it be included in the new version of the show? I »>.»>»> io< \i ivsi \m it io< \i si KVK i u IIH IYSI \n mo\ Western Auto On the Net: www.nbc.com SWAIU/JtWHKY CO.
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