JAMES Horsman is making his York Light debut as smooth greaser Danny Zuko in the company's first staging of Grease from Wednesday.

Sarah Craggs is playing her first principal role with York Light as Sandy Dumbrowski, the initially prim ingénue who falls for Danny in a summer romance in Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's musical set in 1959 California.

This, however, tells only half the story. James and Sarah, both experienced singers and performers, are "an item" in real life, and Wednesday's first night will be the first time they have shared a stage, in the lead roles to boot.

"We met at the National Railway Museum in 2013," recalls James. "My best friend had started seeing Sarah's sister, and I met her at UCLan [University of Central Lancashire] in Preston..."

..."My sister Emma met James, thought he was a nice boy, and started doing a bit of imagining," says Sarah, taking up the recollections.

"I got off the train from Southampton [where he was studying comedy writing and performance] at York station and we'd been provided with phone numbers to make arrangements," says James.

He was duly picked up by Sarah's mum, and already in the car were Sarah, her sister and her boyfriend.

"Now ex-boyfriend, but he's still James's best friend," says Sarah. "Just!" jokes James.

"Four of us went off to the Railway Museum; we split off and went for a meal, and that was it. We were left alone to see how things went and we've been together ever since. Six years," says Sarah.

Now they are united on stage too. "We've sung songs at family gatherings, but this is our first show together," says James, who has performed for Ilkley Upstagers and studied musical theatre at Leeds City College before going to university.

Move forward to 2018 and the chance to audition for Martyn Knight's production of Grease at York Theatre Royal.

"I've been performing with York Light for a little while and I knew that they were doing Grease next," says Sarah. "James's time was freeing up and he said, 'Should I go for it too?'. 'Absolutely!" I said.

"But we still had to get through the auditions, and it took me quite a long time to decide who I wanted to go for, but in the end I thought, 'I better go for Sandy, go for the maximum'."

"And Sarah does best suit that role, so it's great that she got it," says James, who in turn was picked for Danny Zuko.

"It was a really, really exciting feeling when we found out. I was a bit shocked and couldn't quite believe it would be us playing Danny and Sandy," says Sarah.

"In fact I went really quiet, and James had to say 'Yes, she'll do it', as we were told at the same time."

What it all means is they will be spending their Valentine's Day evening on stage. "We're forced to be together for Valentine's Day!" says James.

"It's a unique way for us to spend that night, playing lovers in a musical. It'll probably never happen again," predicts Sarah.

Now York should stand by for two weeks of leather jackets, hand jives, milk shakes and gallons of grease as York Light perk up the cold winter nights with plenty of summer lovin’ in Grease when the Pink Ladies and the T Birds assemble for a new term at Rydell High.

All eyes will be on James's tough greaser Danny and Sarah's girl-next-door Sandy, who, after a whirlwind summer romance, find themselves unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to the high school for senior year. Can't wait for You’re The One That I Want!

York Light presents Grease, York Theatre Royal, February 13 to 16 and 18 to 23 at 7.30pm, plus 2.30pm matinees on February 16 and 23, with a Dress Up and Singalong Night on February 18. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk