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A chat with Broadway's new Sandy and Danny

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After 12 weeks of nationally televised auditions, viewers of NBC’s talent competition Grease: You’re the One That I Want have finally cast a new Danny and Sandy. Max Crumm, 21, and Laura Osnes, 20, will take on the lead roles in the new Broadway production of Grease, which will open on Aug. 19. Already, theatergoers have snapped up $8 million in advance tickets to see Crumm and Osnes — nicknamed ”Slacker Danny” and ”Small-Town Sandy” during the competition — take to the stage. EW caught up with the newest T-Bird and Pink Lady to see just how anxious they are to make their New York City debut.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The moment you were announced as the winners, what was your reaction?
LAURA OSNES: All I remember is that long moment of silence and me thinking, ”Okay, just say something already!” I was just so excited — like, ”Holy cow, I won this. I’m going to be on Broadway!”
MAX CRUMM: I was just preparing myself for the worst. I was like, ”You know what, [fellow Danny auditioner] Austin [Miller]’s going to win, and that’s okay.” And then they said my name. I was pretty surprised.

How would you say you’ve changed over the course of the show?
LAURA: I’ve gained a lot of confidence. I’ve done theater in Minneapolis and I’ve kind of started to make a name for myself there, but I’ve never done national auditions. And to know that I’m at a comparable level, talent-wise, and that I’m mature enough to handle it, it’s just like, wow.
MAX: I have been able to show my layers, and show that I’m not just this slacker kid, but really a hard-working young man that can set his mind to something and do it. I feel like I just made a transition from playing the funny friend to leading man, so that’s kind of awesome.

What was the hardest song you had to perform in the competition?
LAURA: ”Jesus Christ Superstar.” I [thought], ”This song was sung by a male, an African-American male who is a rock star, and I have a Disney princess voice — how am I going to pull this off?”
MAX: I had fun with all my songs, but the hardest to perform was ”Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and ”It Takes Two,” because I was really sick. [Auditioner] Chad [Doreck] was my roommate, and he was really sick during the second week of performances, and then I got sick. [But] I kept it to myself.

Laura, what is it about Max that America fell in love with?
LAURA: He’s so real on stage; he doesn’t put any façade on. Even from the beginning I was like, ”He’s definitely the best one here, but he doesn’t really have the conventional look.” And people were saying [the same about me]. It just goes to show that looks aren?t everything.

And Max, why is Laura going to make the best Sandy?
MAX: She is 100 percent genuine and truthful in her performances. She has a stellar voice that is just going to make her a leading lady for years to come.

Max, during the show we learned that you and fellow contestant Allie Schulz had a little thing going. What’s going on with that?
MAX: Nothing’s official, but I’m definitely going to take her out on a date when I get to New York. We sort of have just been hush-hush about it, but I definitely really like Allie a lot and I can’t wait to just see what happens. We didn’t really get to do anything at the Grease house. We were very professional, [just] friends.

About these nicknames you were given — they don’t even seem all that true. How did you guys feel about them?
LAURA: I don’t know, because in reality I’m from Minneapolis, which is not small town at all. A bunch of the contestants were like, ”I come from a way smaller town than you do. I don’t know how you got pegged that!” Maybe it’s because I was born and raised in Minnesota and I’ve never ventured outside of there.

And you, ”Slacker Danny”?
MAX: Oh, I don’t care. I love that name because Danny is a slacker and I’m a slacker at times. It’s just a funny little name I?ll always have with me.

Out of everything great that comes along with starring on Broadway, what are you guys most looking forward to?
LAURA: I guess seeing my face in Times Square will be surreal for a while. But I also had, more than once, the image in my head of coming out of the stage door and seeing lots of people with Playbills.
MAX: I’m most excited about doing the cast recording of the Grease soundtrack, getting to sing ”Sandy” and ”You’re the One That I Want.” I’ve never had my voice on a professional recording. I’m just so stoked.

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