Grease is the word for X Factor star Rhydian
AFTER growing up watching John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John strut their stuff in the 1978 film, Grease, Rhydian Roberts never dreamed he would one day play the part of 'Teen Angel' in the stage show of the same name.
"It's a timeless musical," says the 29-year-old, "with great, great songs and a plot everybody can identify with.
"I'm having the time of my life."
The West End show began a new tour last spring and arrives at The Regent theatre on Monday, May 7.
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"I've not been to The Regent before," says Rhydian, "but I studied in Birmingham, which isn't a million miles away."
The classically trained Welsh baritone rose to fame in 2007 after becoming a finalist on ITV1's hit show The X Factor.
After coming second in the singing contest, he went on to sign a record deal with Sony BMG and while with the label, focused on classical crossover material.
His debut album, Rhydian, released in 2008, went double platinum.
Rhydian, pictured below, first appeared in Grease last year and has rejoined the tour to reprise the role of Teen Angel, the character who sings Beauty School Dropout to Frenchy, one of the Pink Ladies.
"A lot of the stuff I do is quite high pressured," he says, "so to come on stage for five minutes in the second half is my idea of a good time."
Since 1993, Grease has been seen by more than 12 million theatregoers in the UK alone.
The production is written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, and directed by David Gilmore.
Choreography is provided by former BBC Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, and the show is produced by Paul Nicholas and David Ian.
"I took the part of Teen Angel for a few reasons," continues Rhydian.
"I'm passionate about theatre and always have been, and the role is good fun."
Looking back to his time on the X Factor, Rhydian describes the experience as a "great opportunity".
"I enjoyed taking part," he says, "and the live shows were brilliant fun.
"To sing one song a week wasn't hard, and it launched my career. I've been busy for the past four-and-a-half years thanks to the show."
But what is X Factor chief Simon Cowell really like?
"He's a tour de force," says Rhydian.
"He's hugely influential and he did a lot for me."
Born in the Brecon Beacons, Rhydian now splits his time between London and France.
"I've got a place in the South of France," he says, "which is an area I've always loved.
"But I spend a bit of time in Wales as well, where I have my own television programme.
"It's on S4C and it's called The Rhydian Show, and I have guests on like Hayley Westenra and Aled Jones."
Now with Conehead Records, Rhydian is working on his fifth album.
"It will be an original classical crossover album," he says, "and will take the best part of a year to complete."
In Grease, Rhydian is joined by Danny Bayne as Danny, Carina Gillespie as Sandy and Kate Somerset How as Rizzo.
Grease opens at The Regent theatre on Monday, May 7, until Saturday, May 12. Call 0844 871 7649.