The Daily Telegraph
(Sydney, Australia)

August 1997

They love Lucy: now Xena takes Rizzo role


KIWI actress Lucy Lawless, who found world-wide fame as the warrior princess in the TV series Xena — is the latest Australasian to score a role in Grease.

Lawless, 29, who starred in Australian films before moving to the US, has been cast as tough cookie Rizzo in Broadway's long-running Grease revival. Olivia Newton-John played the more demure role of Sandy in the Grease film.
Lawless, 175cm tall, happily follows Brooke Shields into the part, although it will pay her less than her smash-Hit role of the mythical warrior woman Xena, which was syndicated globally.

Lawless, who acknowledges the Xena role has earned her a big following in the Manhattan lesbian community, has never been on stage professionally or sung publicly. Separated from New Zealander Garth Lawless, with whom she shares custody of a nine-year-old daughter, Daisy, Lawless says she is not taking the part of Rizzo for the money.

"I want to sing again, as I did as a teenager, just for the love of it," she said.

Lawless said Daisy "liked mum being Xena and liked me picking her up from school". Lawless said she was comfortable with Xena's image as feminist role model, leather-clad sex symbol and lesbian heroine.

"People are attracted to Xena's masculine bent," she said. "She doesn't rely on a man for help, and that's a good message."


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