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John Travolta is gearing up for a big-screen musical

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John Travolta
Richard Foreman/SMPSP

John Travolta’s career may be riding high these days with ”The General’s Daughter” opening on Friday, but fans who remember ”Grease” still yearn to watch the actor show off some fancy footwork and muddle through a tune or two. No less a diva than Barbra Streisand has invited the star to sing a few songs with her during her Las Vegas New Year’s Eve concert, and even though Travolta hasn’t decided whether to take the gig, his feelings about warbling again, at least on screen, are definitely warm. ”I feel very fulfilled when I do a musical,” says Travolta. ”It’s very rarely possible, but when it happens, it’s fun.”

Earlier this year it finally looked like the rarity had become a possibility with ”Standing Room Only,” a biopic musical about New Jersey lounge singer Jimmy Roselli. Director Gus Van Sant had signed on for the project along with Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, who was set to play her hubby’s onscreen spouse, Donna Roselli. But, just before shooting was slated to begin this spring, the movie was unceremoniously bumped to October. Producers placed the blame on a scheduling conflict with Travolta’s upcoming action adventure ”Battlefield Earth,” but sluggish presales for ”Standing” had some wondering if the film might be indefinitely shelved.

While Travolta isn’t positive that the film will take flight this fall as planned, he’s willing to wait a while to play Roselli, whom he describes as ”a singer who was in the shadows of Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra. As long as you have the script, you can postpone it until whenever the time is right.”

But the star, who hasn’t had much of an opportunity to croon since bumping and grinding his way through ”Greased Lightning,” admits to some eagerness to get back behind the microphone. ”When it’s a good character, and I get to express myself through singing and dancing too, I feel full-bodied,” he explains. Uh, no word on whether the sometimes weight-challenged star will be looking full-bodied as well.

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