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This article is about the stage musical. For the 1978 film of the same name, see Grease .


Grease is a 1972 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

The musical has its name from the 1950s United States working-class youth subculture known as the greasers. The musical, set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School (loosely based on William Howard Taft High School ), follows ten working-class kids as they navigate the complexities of love, cars, and drive-ins. The score attempts to re-create the sounds of early rock and roll. In its record-breaking original Broadway production, Grease was a raunchy, raw, aggressive, vulgar show which has since been sanitized and tamed down by subsequent productions.

The show tackles such social issues as teenage pregnancy and gang violence; its themes include love, friendship, teenage rebellion, sexual exploration during adolescence and, to some extent, class consciousness/class conflict.

At the time it closed in 1980, Grease's 3,388-performance run was the longest yet in Broadway history, although surpassed by A Chorus Line a few years later. It went on to become a West Endmarker hit, a hugely successful film, a popular 1994 Broadwaymarker revival, and a staple of regional theatre, summer stock, community theatre, and high school and middle school drama groups. It remains Broadway's twelfth longest-running show.

Production history

Original 1971 production

The show's original, grittier 1971 incarnation has been described as either a musical from the start or a play with incidental music. In either case, it was first staged under the name Grease Lightning at the original location of the Kingston Minesmarker in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The script was based on Jim Jacobs' experience at Chicago's William Howard Taft High School . Producers Ken Waissman and Maxine Fox saw it and suggested to the playwrights it might work better as a full-scale musical, and told them if they were willing to rework it and if they liked the result, they would produce it off-Broadway. The team headed to New York Citymarker and after additional collaboration and refinements, Grease opened at the Eden Theatre in downtown Manhattanmarker on February 14, 1972. Excellent reviews and brisk box-office business prompted the producers to move it to Broadway.

1972 Broadway premiere

The Broadway productionmarker, directed by Tom Moore and choreographed by Patricia Birch (who later directed the ill-fated sequel of the film adaptation of Grease), opened on June 7, 1972 at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it ran for five months before transferring to the Royale Theatremarker. It remained there for more than seven years before moving to the Majestic Theatremarker to complete its record-setting 3,388-performance run. The original cast included Barry Bostwick as Danny and Carole Demas as Sandy, with Adrienne Barbeau, Timothy Meyers, Alan Paul, and Walter Bobbie in supporting roles. Replacements later in the run included Jeff Conaway, Marilu Henner, Peter Gallagher, Ilene Graff, Judy Kaye, Patrick Swayze, John Travolta, Jerry Zaks, and Treat Williams. Richard Gere was an understudy for many roles in this production, including Danny Zuko, Teen Angel, and Vince Fontaine.

1973 London premiere

The original London production opened at the New London Theatremarker in June 1973 with a cast that included a then-unknown Richard Gere as Danny and Kim Braden as Sandy. Later Paul Nicholas and Elaine Paige who had been in the London production of Hair took over the leads. It was revived in London at the Astoria in 1979 with Su Pollard and Tracey Ullman.

1993 London revival

In 1993, a London revival ran for six years beginning on July 15, 1993, at the Dominion Theatremarker and transferring to the Cambridge Theatremarker in October 1996, where it ran until September 11, 1999. Directed by David Gilmore, the opening cast included Craig McLachlan (Danny), Debbie Gibson (Sandy), Shane Ritchie (Kenickie) and Sally Ann Triplett (Rizzo). (Variety, Review Abroad Grease, 8/2/93-8/8/93) Other performers who played Danny were Luke Goss, Ian Kelsey, and Darren Day.

1994 Broadway revival

After twenty previews, a Broadway revival directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun opened on May 11, 1994 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatremarker, where it ran for 1,505 performances. Featured were Ricky Paull Goldin (Danny), Brooke Shields and Rosie O'Donnell (Rizzo), Susan Wood (Sandy), Megan Mullally (Marty), Hunter Foster (Roger), and Billy Porter (Teen Angel).

1994 US Tour

A U.S. national tour of the 1994 production started in September 1994 in New Havenmarker, Connecticutmarker, and ran for several years. The opening tour cast included Sally Struthers (Miss Lynch), who stayed with the tour for several years, Angela Pupello (Rizzo), Rex Smith (Danny), Trisha M. Gorman (Sandy), and Davy Jones (Vince Fontaine). Brooke Shields (Rizzo) started on the tour in November 1994 before joining the Broadway cast. Other notable performers on the tour were Mickey Dolenz (Vince Fontaine), Adrian Zmed (Danny), Debbie Gibson, Heather Stokes, Mackenzie Phillips and Jasmine Guy (Rizzo), Sutton Foster (Sandy) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (Jan), and Lucy Lawless (Rizzo, 1997).

2007 Broadway revival

A second Broadway revival, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatremarker on July 24, 2007 and opened on August 19, 2007. Max Crumm and Laura Osnes were selected to portray Danny and Sandy via viewer votes cast during the run of the NBC reality series Grease: You're the One that I Want!. The original score includes four songs written for the film adaptation: "Hopelessly Devoted to You," "Sandy," "You're the One That I Want," and the title number. The Burger Palace Boys' name would be the T-Birds in this revival. The production ended on January 4, 2009 after 31 previews and 554 performances.

2008 US tour

A US National tour began on December 2, 2008 in Providence, RI and is scheduled to continue through June 13, 2010 at the Boston Opera Housemarker in Boston, Massachusettsmarker. Taylor Hicks reprises his role as the Teen Angel, with Eric Schneider as Danny and Emily Padgett as Sandy. Ace Young will join the tour as Danny on December 1, 2009. In the U.S. Tour, before the show begins, the DJ of WAXX, Vince Fontaine, plays music from the '50s for audience to sing. After that, he reminded safety instructions before the show begins. After the show, Vince told everyone to donate at the lobby for Broadway Cares before Taylor Hicks performed.

2007 London revival

A West End revival, with the leads similarly cast via ITV's Grease Is The Word, opened at the Piccadilly Theatremarker, London on August 8, 2007 to negative reviews.

2008 Asian tour

The Asian tour opened in Macaumarker in October 2008 and has booked dates for Singaporemarker, Kuala Lumpurmarker, Seoulmarker, Busanmarker, Daegumarker, Bangkokmarker, Jakartamarker, Manilamarker, Taipeimarker, Hong Kongmarker, Dubaimarker, and various cities in Indiamarker.

Synopsis

Act I

In 1959, Rydell High School's rebellious, happy, thrill-loving students start a new year. The "greasers" are the Burger Palace Boys and the Pink Ladies ("Alma Mater Parody"). In the revival, the play begins with the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies singing, "Grease (is the Word)". The start of the new school year means lousy food ("You want my coleslaw?") and dreaded teachers ("I got Old Lady Lynch for English again. She hates my guts."). The Pink Ladies sit on one side of the lunchroom, and the Burger Palace Boys sit on the other.

There is a new girl at school, Sandy Dumbrowski. She and the leader of the “Burger Palace Boys”, Danny Zuko, had a brief love affair the summer before, but the summer ended for them with unresolved feelings of love. In describing the fling to the Pink Ladies (Jan, Marty, Frenchy, and Betty Rizzo), Sandy focuses on the emotional attachment she and Danny had, while Danny lies to the Boys (Roger, Doody, Sonny, and Kenickie) about the physical aspects of their relationship ("Summer Nights"). Sandy and Danny soon bump into each other at school, and while Sandy is happy to see Danny, he blows her off, pretending to be too cool. Meanwhile, the kids gather in the hall as Doody, the youngest Burger Palace Boy, shows off his new guitar. Rock star wannabe Doody gives an impromptu concert in the hall ("Those Magic Changes").

At Marty’s pajama party, the girls experiment with wine, cigarettes, and pierced ears, and talk about boys. Marty tells about her long-distance courtship with a Marine ("Freddy, My Love"). Meanwhile, the Burger Palace Boys are busy stealing hubcaps and teasing Kenickie about his new (used) car ("Greased Lightning").

Danny sees Sandy again and tries to apologize for his behavior, but she is hurt to find out that he has told his friends that she is "easy." Head cheerleader Patty Simcox interrupts to prompt Sandy to join the squad and to tease Danny about his latest indiscretions ("Rydell Fight Song"). The kids take their newfangled portable radios for a rock and roll picnic in the park and plan how they will pair off at the upcoming school prom, while Roger shares his love for Jan and his favorite hobby ("Mooning"). Rizzo teases Danny for falling for a girl who resembles the excessively proper teenage ingénue, Sandra Dee ("Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee"). Sandy realizes that Danny is putting her off to be cool and wishes she had never met him.

Then Danny suggests that Marty go out with Eugene, and she chases after him. The kids declare that they will "always be together" and they will always be friends ("We Go Together").

Act II

At the High School Hop, everyone is dancing, except Sandy ("Shakin' At the High School Hop"). She is home feeling sorry for herself ("It's Raining on Prom Night"). Meanwhile the favorite radio DJ of the Burger Palace Boys and the Pink Ladies, Vince Fontaine, is the MC at the dance, which takes place in the gym. He is warming the kids up for the hand-jive dance contest. Kenickie dumps his blind date, Cha-Cha DiGregorio, and pairs off with Rizzo. Danny originally enters the contest with Rizzo, but she instead chooses to dance with Kenickie. Meanwhile, Kenickie pairs Danny up with Cha-Cha despite Danny's protest. He and Cha-Cha then proceed to win the dance contest ("Born to Hand Jive"). In the revival, Sandy hears the news that Danny and Cha-Cha got up close and won. She feels betrayed but she cannot stop thinking about Danny ("Hopelessly Devoted to You").

A few days later at the Burger Palace after school, a couple of the guys run into Frenchy, who flunked out of Rydell and has now dropped out of beauty school since she failed all of her classes ("Beauty School Dropout"). Danny, who has taken up track in order to win back Sandy's affections, does not know that Cha-Cha’s boyfriend’s gang has challenged the guys to a rumble. He is more concerned about patching things up with Sandy at the Twi-Light Drive In, but he moves too fast for her, and she leaves ("All Alone at a Drive-In Movie" ("Sandy" in the Revival)). A couple of days later, the "greasers" are having a party in Jan’s basement, as Doody and Roger sing "Rock ’n’ Roll Party Queen." Rizzo is worried that she is pregnant, but she is so mad at Kenickie that she tells him he is not the father. Rizzo rejects the kids' offers of help, especially Sandy's ("There Are Worse Things I Could Do"). Sandy wonders what she needs to do to fit in at Rydell ("Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" (Reprise)).

The next time Sandy meets up with the Burger Palace Boys and the Pink Ladies, she has transformed herself into a greaser's dream date ("All Choked Up" ("You're the One That I Want" in the Revival)). Rizzo reveals that she is not pregnant, and she and Kenickie reunite. All ends happily ("We Go Together" (Reprise)).

Revival changes

Due to the popularity of the 1978 film adaptation, which made several changes to the musical's songs and themes (many to accommodate its casting choice for Sandy, Australian singer Olivia Newton-John), the subsequent revivals adopted several of the changes made in the film, particularly the replacement of several songs, and the renaming of the Burger Palace Boys to their film name, the T-Birds. However, in the revival, the role of Sandy Dumbrowski is not changed from the original Broadway production.

Roles and notable cast







  • Frenchy – Fun-loving and foolish but very friendly member of the Pink Ladies; dropped out of high school to enter Beauty School; a little light-headed and in her own world and somewhat dumb (soprano or mezzo-soprano). Cares a lot about her appearance. Notable Frenchys have included Didi Conn and Tracey Ullman.














  • Sonny LaTierri – An obnoxious yet tricky member of the Burger Palace Boys (later, the T-Birds); funny Italian-American; "Wise Guy" of the Burger Palace Boys. Notable Sonnys have included Michael Tucci, Seán Hogan and Bennett Andrews.


  • Roger (name was changed to Putzie for the movie) – A jolly prankster member of the Burger Palace Boys (later, the T-Birds); loves "putting people on"; loves Jan (tenor). Notable Rogers have included Kelly Ward, Ethan McCarter, Walter Bobbie (1972), Steve LeFayt (2009) and Hunter Foster (1994 revival).


  • Cha-Cha, aka Charlene DiGregorio - Apparently the best dancer at St. Bernadette's; wins the dancing competition with Danny. Julie Henderson starred in Original London Production choreographed by Arlene Phillips.


  • Eugene Florczyk – A silly, pompous but gullible nerd.








  • Sheila in the Drive-In Movie - A notable Sheilas is Bernadette Pigman.


  • Pam at the drive-in movie - character in the background during the drive-in scene. A notable Pam is Abby Jones.


  • Burger Palace Boys (later, the T-Birds) – The boys' gang of working-class "greasers-to-be."


  • Pink Ladies – The greasers girls' gang, named for the pink satin jackets they wear.


Song list and orchestrations

Original 1972 song list

Act I


  • Prologue – Instrumental
  • Alma Mater – Miss Lynch, Patty, Eugene and Company
  • Alma Mater Parody – Kids, Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boys
  • Summer Nights – Sandy, Danny, Pink Ladies, Burger Palace Boys, Eugene and Patty
  • Those Magic Changes – Doody and Burger Palace Boys
  • Freddy, My Love – Marty and Pink Ladies
  • Greased Lightning – Kenickie and Burger Palace Boys
  • Rydell Fight Song – Sandy and Patty
  • Mooning – Roger and Jan
  • Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee – Rizzo
  • We Go Together – Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boys


Act II


  • Shakin’ at the High School Hop – The Company
  • It’s Raining on Prom Night – Sandy, Jan and Radio Singer
  • Born to Hand Jive – Johnny Casino and Company
  • Beauty School Dropout – Teen Angel and Female Angels
  • Alone at a Drive in Movie – Danny and Burger Palace Boys
  • Rock ’N’ Roll Party Queen – Doody and Roger
  • There are Worse Things I Could Do – Rizzo
  • Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee (Reprise) – Sandy
  • All Choked Up – Sandy, Danny, Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boys
  • We Go Together (Reprise) – Cast


1994 revival song list

Act I


  • Prologue – Instrumental
  • Alma Mater – Miss Lynch, Patty, Eugene and Company
  • Alma Mater Parody – Kids, Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boys
  • Summer Nights – Sandy, Danny, Pink Ladies, Burger Palace Boys, Eugene and Patty
  • Those Magic Changes – Doody and Burger Palace Boys
  • Freddy, My Love – Marty and Pink Ladies
  • Greased Lightning – Kenickie and Burger Palace Boys
  • Greased Lightning (Reprise) – Rizzo and Burger Palace Boys
  • Rydell Fight Song – Sandy and Patty
  • Mooning – Roger and Jan
  • Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee – Rizzo
  • Since I Don’t Have You – Sandy
  • We Go Together – Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boys


Act II


  • Shakin’ at the High School Hop – The Company
  • It’s Raining on Prom Night – Sandy, Jan and Radio Singer
  • Shakin’ at the High School Hop (Reprise) – Orchestra and Kids
  • Born to Hand Jive – Johnny Casino and Company
  • Beauty School Dropout – Teen Angel and Female Angels
  • Alone at a Drive in Movie – Danny and Burger Palace Boys
  • Rock ’N’ Roll Party Queen – Doody and Roger
  • There are Worse Things I Could Do – Rizzo
  • Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee (Reprise) – Sandy and Rizzo
  • Grease – Cast


2007 revival song list

Act I


  • Overture – Instrumental
  • Grease* – Company
  • Summer Nights – Sandy, Danny, Pink Ladies, T-Birds, Eugene and Patty
  • Those Magic Changes – Doody and T-Birds
  • Freddy, My Love – Marty and Pink Ladies
  • Greased Lightning – Kenickie and T-Birds
  • Rydell Fight Song – Sandy and Patty
  • Mooning – Roger and Jan
  • Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee – Rizzo
  • We Go Together – Pink Ladies and T-Birds


Act II


  • Shakin’ at the High School Hop – The Company
  • It’s Raining on Prom Night – Sandy, Jan and Radio Singer
  • Born to Hand Jive – Vince Fontaine and Company
  • Hopelessly Devoted to You* – Sandy
  • Beauty School Dropout – Teen Angel and Female Angels
  • Sandy* – Danny
  • Rock ’N’ Roll Party Queen – Doody and Roger
  • There are Worse Things I Could Do – Rizzo
  • Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee (Reprise) – Sandy
  • You’re the One That I Want* – Danny, Sandy and Company
  • Finale: We Go Together (Reprise) – Cast


* The 2007 revival incorporates some changes from the popular film version. Some numbers were eliminated, and others were added to the score: "Grease" is written by Barry Gibb, "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "You’re the One That I Want" are written by John Farrar, and "Sandy" is by Louis St. Louis and Scott Simon.


Orchestration

The original score calls for a piano, tenor saxophone 1+2, bass guitar, percussion, and guitar 1+2.

Awards and nominations

1972 production

  • Tony Award for Best Musical (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Book (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Barry Bostwick, nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Timothy Meyers, nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Adrienne Barbeau, nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Costume Design (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Choreography (nominee)
  • Theatre World Award (Barbeau, winner)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography (winner)
  • Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Costume Design (winner)


1994 revival

  • Theatre World Award (Brooke Shields, winner)
  • Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Marcia Lewis, nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Choreography (nominee)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical (Sam Harris, nominee)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography (nominee)


2007 revival

  • Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (nominee)


Footnotes

  1. TIME magazine reported in its May 26, 2008 issue, p. 51, that this musical ranked as the sixth most frequently produced musical by U.S. high schools in 2007.
  2. Williams, Albert. Chicago Reader (Jan. 9, 2009): The Jim and Warren Show; Chicago Reader: The Jim and Warren Show
  3. Sharbutt, Jay. Associated Press (Nov. 4, 1979): Untitled article about Grease; quoted in The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS: Warren Casey - Music Archive Catalog
  4. [1]
  5. GREASE to Close on Broadway January 4, 2009
  6. Gans, Andrew. "Grease Tour, with "American Idol" Winner Hicks, Kicks Off Dec. 2 in RI",playbill.com, December 2, 2008
  7. Ace Young, Allison Fischer, Laura D'Andre, Jesse JP Johnson and Jamison Scott Join GREASE TOUR
  8. Review Round-Up of London Opening: Grease Not the Word for Critics; at Whatsonstage.com
  9. Internet Broadway Database: Grease Production Credits


References



External links




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