Grease is one of the greatest movie musicals! Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta starred in the movie version of this classic. Set in the 50's, this movie brought us songs like, "Summer Nights", "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee", and "Beauty School Dropout". It came out in 1978, and they re-released it in the theatres in 1998.

Grease 2 was funny, yet it didn't come close to being as popular as the original.
Grease Soundtrack
Starring Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Stockard Channing, and Others...

  1. Grease
  2. Summer Nights
  3. Hopelessly Devoted to You
  4. You're the One That I Want
  5. Sandy
  6. Beauty School Dropout
  7. Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee
  8. Greased Lightning
  9. It's Raining on Prom Night
  10. Alone at the Drive-In Movie
  11. Blue Moon
  12. Rock 'N' Roll is Here to Stay
  13. Those Magic Changes
  14. Hound Dog
  15. Born to Hand Jive
  16. Tears on My Pillow
  17. Mooning
  18. Freddy My Love
  19. Rock 'N' Roll Party Queen
  20. There Are Worse Things I Could Do
  21. Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee (reprise)
  22. We Go Together
  23. Love is a Many Splendored Thing
  24. Grease (reprise)

I was fourteen when Grease came out. It was summer, and I was just discovering boys. What's more, I'd dresssed and made myself up to the nines a while earlier, so that they'd let me in to the 18-certificate Saturday Night Fever. Now, I hadn't liked the movie, but I'd loved John Travolta.

Of course I had to go and see Grease. And when I'd seen it once, I had to go see it again, and again.

It seemed to capture everything that being a teenager was about to me, back then. It had boys, it had sex, it had music and dancing, it had the ever-thorny problem of peer acceptance, and best of all, it had Travolta. That scene, on the first day of school, when he turns around and looks into the camera, his eyes so blue... swoon

Ahem.

The story is a corny tale of the bumpy road to true love for uptight virgin Sandy (Olivia Newton John) and cool, leather clad Danny (John Travolta), with both having to grow up and change who they are to get the one they love. What's more, these are the oldest high-school students in history.

But it works.

Grease is the last great musical. It's silly and exhuberant and it's stuffed full of great songs, written Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, with a new theme for the movie penned by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. There are some wonderful performances both from the leads and from several of the supporting players -- Didi Conn as kind hearted, somewhat stupid Frenchie, who wants to be a beautician, Eve Arden as the School Principal, Jeff Conolly as Kenickie, Danny's best friend, and most notably -- and the shining star of the entire film -- Stockard Channing as the bad-girl Rizzo, who she manages to make both aggressively hardboiled and touchingly vulnerable (she gets the best song too -- "There are worse things I could do").

It's a joyous romp, and if it fails to catch you up and make you smile you really are a sad case -- with me, every time I see it I'm fourteen again -- and happy.

Before the film, Grease existed on stage. In 1971, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey staged a 5 hour amateur production in Chicago, half conventional musical and half rock 'n' roll review, which celebrated teenage life in the 1950s. Its popularity had Broadway calling; but some changes were in order. The revised and shortened Grease: A New 50s Rock 'n' Roll Musical premiered on Valentine's Day, 1972 at the Eden Theatre, and moved shortly thereafter to Broadway's Broadhurst, and then to the Royale

The stage musical has a fairly tough urban setting, and balances the sentimental reminiscing with the audience's awareness of life's realities and the script's touches of satire. Tough-guy Danny's changes with peer pressure (few of which make it into the film), ingenuous Sandy's transformation into a more sexualized character, and tough-girl Rizzo's gradual emergence as more than her reputation, all reveal the realities beneath the masks we often wear during adolescence. While not exactly deep, the play celebrates and skewers the exaggerated sexual politics of high school.

It set a record for Broadway musical longevity, clocking 3,388 performances (A Chorus Line later buried that record). The original cast included Barry Bostwick and Adrienne Barbeau, and the production featured the following songs:

"Alma Mater"
"Summer Nights"
"Those Magic Changes"
"Freddy, My Love"
"Greased Lightning"
"Rydell Fight Song"
"Mooning"
"Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee"
"We Go Together"
"It's Raining on Prom Night"
"Born to Hand-Jive"
"Beauty School Drop-out"
"Alone at the Drive-in Movie"
"Rock 'n' Roll Party Queen"
"There are Worse Things I Could Do"
"All Choked Up"
"We Go Together" (Reprise)

Nostalgia for the 50s (or the media's Happy Days version thereof) formed a major part of 1970s North American youth culture, and the adaptation of the Broadway hit to screen was a given. Once again, Grease underwent modifications. Alan Carr wrote the new screenplay, with assistance from Bronte Woodard. New songs were added, including the Barry Gibb-penned theme song, John Farrar's sure-fire hit singles "You're the One that I Want" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You," and Louis St. Louis's "Sandy."

Others sing the praises of the film adaptation elsewhere in this nodeshell. The film, in fact, opened to a decidedly mixed critical reception-- a fact forgotten in its later elevation to "classic" status. Director Randal Kleiser creates some energetic scenes, but his adaptation tramples clumsily over the subtler touches. The film plays for me now as if a particularly self-absorbed adolescent were running the show. Rather than a sometimes amusing, sometimes comedic reflection on the 50s and teenhood, we get a morality play teaching that boys should be thickheaded jerks and girls should be male-catering sluts. The tacked-on theme song may claim that "conventionality belongs to yesterday," but the film reinforces the worst kind of bowing to peer pressure.

The influence of Hollywood cannot be denied; in recent years, productions have become more like the familiar film, even including the added musical numbers. Grease can be enjoyed or dismissed as a romp, but it's also fair to note the original musical is an informed romp.

Portions of this article appear a review of Grease I wrote on the film's twentieth anniversary.

Grease (gres), n. [OE. grese, grece, F. graisse; akin to gras fat, greasy, fr. LL. grassus thick, fat, gross, L. crassus. Cf. Crass.]

1.

Animal fat, as tallow or lard, especially when in a soft state; oily or unctuous matter of any kind.

2. Far.

An inflammation of a horse's heels, suspending the ordinary greasy secretion of the part, and producing dryness and scurfiness, followed by cracks, ulceration, and fungous excrescences.

Grease bush. Bot. Same as Grease wood (below). -- Grease moth Zool., a pyralid moth (Aglossa pinguinalis) whose larva eats greasy cloth, etc. -- Grease wood Bot., a scraggy, stunted, and somewhat prickly shrub (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) of the Spinach family, very abundant in alkaline valleys from the upper Missouri to California. The name is also applied to other plants of the same family, as several species of Atriplex and Obione.

 

© Webster 1913.


Grease (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Greased (grezd or gresd); p. pr. & vb. n. Greasing.]

1.

To smear, anoint, or daub, with grease or fat; to lubricate; as, to grease the wheels of a wagon.

2.

To bribe; to corrupt with presents.

The greased advocate that grinds the poor. Dryden.

3.

To cheat or cozen; to overreach.

[Obs.]

Beau. & Fl.

4.

(Ear.) To affect (a horse) with grease, the disease.

To grease in the hand, to corrupt by bribes.

Usher.

 

© Webster 1913.

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