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Olivia Newton-John on Las Vegas Residency, New Music & the Legacy of 'Grease': 'It's Just Contagious'

Olivia Newton-John
Denise Truscello

Olivia Newton-John performs in April 2014.

“There’s something magical” about Grease, says pop icon Olivia Newton-John, who played Sandy in the big-screen adaptation of the hit stage musical. “It's just contagious.”

Grease will get the live TV treatment on Jan. 31, when Fox stages its own staging of the musical, with Julianne Hough stepping in as the newest Sandy.

“I think Julianne's going to be a wonderful Sandy,” Newton-John says on the Pop Shop Podcast (listen to the entire interview, below). She adds that Hough is an “amazing dancer” and has a “really lovely energy about her.”

Did the powers that be behind the new Fox-fueled Grease ask Newton-John to drop in for a cameo role in the show?

“Yeah, they did… but, I… I’ve done that movie,” she says, laughing. “Leave it to the young ones.” (While Newton-John won’t be the Fox broadcast, watch for her film co-stars Didi Conn and Barry Pearl to turn up in the show.)

Fans hoping for a live Grease fix from Newton-John can instead check out the diva singing Grease tunes in her concert residency show in Las Vegas at the Flamingo. The ongoing show, Summer Nights, premiered in 2014 and has been extended through 2016.

The 90-minute show features a bevy of Newton-John’s hits -- including, of course, one of the biggest singles of all time: “Physical.” It spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, is the biggest hit of the 1980s, and is one of five chart-toppers for the singer.

“I remember as a young girl going to see a famous artist who will remain nameless, and she didn't do her hits,” says Newton-John. “And I remember being terribly disappointed, and thinking, 'If I'm ever lucky enough to make it successfully, I must remember to do the songs that people want to hear.' So I've kind of kept that in my mind always.”

As for new music from the singer, she says there is something on the not-too-distant horizon.

“I've got a project with two of my friends -- Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky, both brilliant singer/songwriters in their own right -- and we have a project coming out in April. I don't think they want me to mention the title or anything about it right now, but we're just finishing that up. I'm very excited about that project, it's a really important one to me.”

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