Monday 27 July 2015

Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey's "Grease"

"Grease is the word, is the word that you heard
It's got groove its got meaning
Grease is the time is the place is the motion
Grease is the way we are feeling."

His name was Jeff Rosnick.  All the girls in Grade 6 had a crush on him.  Why?  Because he had the biggest, brightest, bluest eyes and dark wavy hair parted in the middlle, just like John Travolta.  John Travolta starred in the biggest Broadway production of 1978, Grease.  I saw it not once, but twice in the theatre.  I saw it a third time in Grade 9 when my high school, Westmount, mounted its own version of the play.

The story was set in Chicago in 1959 at Rydell High School, based on William Howard Taft School where Jim Jacobs attended.  It followed the lives of ten teenagers through their friendships and loves in a world filled with souped up cars, greasy hair and greasy spoons.  At the centre is greaser Danny Zuko, played by Barry Bostwick, and Sandy, played by Carole Demas, as well as Rizzo played by Adrienne Barbeua and Kenickie played by Timothy Meyers.  Good girl Sandy falls in love with rebel Danny over the summer.  When the school year resumes, Danny is torn between his girl and his gang, The T-Birds and the Pink Ladies.

The original production was staged in an old trolley barn in Chicago in 1971.  Grease premiered on Broadway at the Eden Theatre on Valentine's Day 1972 and ran for 3388 performances, closing in 1980.  At the time it was the longest running musical on Broadway.  

The play was adapted for the big screen in 1978, starring John Travolta as Danny and Olivia Newton John as Sandy.  They belted out hits such as "Summer Nights", "Greased Lightnin'", and "We Go Together".

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