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The former “Big Time Rush” actor and singer is stepping into a pair of blue jeans and T-Birds jacket for a live telecast of the classic rock 'n' roll musical, “Grease.”
“I grew up with ‘Grease’,” the 26-year-old Carlos PenaVega told Fox News Latino in an email interview. “So many of us have! Most of us know the songs and know the story, but there is this whole new generation that will experience our take on it! That’s beyond exciting.”
The live show, which airs Sunday night on Fox, will present the well-known story – but with a twist, PenaVega said.
“We are trying to find the balance between the film and the stage play. What’s great about our version of ‘Grease’ is that we are truly doing something so different,” he said. “We are king of breaking the rules and taking the audience on the journey with us into something really fun, exciting and unique.”
PenaVega will play Kenickie, the best friend of Danny Zuko, played Aaron Tveit and the love interest of Rizzo, played by “High School Musical” alum Vanessa Hudgens.
“Kenicke has been great to discover,” he said. “He’s this cool dude on the outside, but he has so many insecurities. So really playing those two traits has been super helpful in developing this character.”
With the show, PenaVega teamed up with “Dancing with the Stars” cohort Julianne Hough, who takes on the role of the lovable Sandy.
“It was pretty nuts at first. During DWTS, they don’t let the judges communicate with the contestants. If I ever saw her in the hallway, she would kind of scurry away! So I just didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “As soon as the show was over, and the confetti fell, she came running up to me and said, ‘I am so glad I can finally talk to you!’ She is one of the sweetest people I have had the opportunity to work with.”
He added, “She wrote me a card at the start of our rehearsals, and in it she said, ‘I promise I won’t judge your Kenickie.’”
PenaVega said the live aspect of DWTS – which he did with wife Alexa PenaVega – helped him prepare for the live show on Sunday. He said they had a crazy rehearsal schedule for the popular ABC program, and then when it was showtime, “Your heart would just start pounding in double time!”
“It was insane!” he said. “But having my wife with me made me (it) so much more fun! She really helped me stay encouraged.”
Since Nickelodeon's “Big Time Rush” ended in 2013, PenaVega has stayed busy with various projects including a role as Oscar Vazquez in the movie “Spare Parts” alongside George Lopez. He has also been working on some music and, as he put it, “getting in touch with my Hispanic roots.”
“I love that style of music and have been playing around with a ‘Spanglish’ idea,” he said. “So all in all, I’m just staying busy and enjoying the journey and blessings God has given me.”
He is also teaming up with wife Alexa for Lexlos, a blog and clothing shop through which they hope to encourage and inspire others.
“Lex and I love working together, so we are always looking for excuses to continue that," he told FNL. "For us, our faith is everything. It is the foundation of who we are. We just want to be a light for people. God has given us such an incredible platform and we want to use that in every way that we can to inspire and encourage people.”