Grease (musical)

Grease is a 1971 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Named after the 1950s United States working-class youth subculture known as greasers, the musical is set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School[1] (based on William Howard Taft School in Chicago, Illinois[2]) and follows ten working-class teenagers as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values, and love. The score borrows heavily from the sounds of early rock and roll. In its original production in Chicago, Grease was a raunchy, raw, aggressive, vulgar show. Subsequent productions sanitized it and toned it down.[3] The show mentions social issues such as teenage pregnancy, peer pressure and gang violence; its themes include love, friendship, teenage rebellion, sexual exploration during adolescence, and, to some extent, class consciousness and class conflict. Jacobs described the show's basic plot as a subversion of common tropes of 1950s cinema, since the female lead, who in many 1950s films transformed the alpha male into a more sensitive and sympathetic character, is instead drawn into the man's influence and transforms into his fantasy.[4]

Original Broadway cast recording
MusicJim Jacobs
Warren Casey
LyricsJim Jacobs
Warren Casey
BookJim Jacobs
Warren Casey
Productions1971 Chicago
1972 Broadway
1973 West End
1978 Film
1979 West End revival
1993 West End revival
1994 Broadway revival
1994 US Tour
1999 Madrid
1999 Paris
2001 West End revival
2002 Toronto
2005 Disney Village
2006 Barcelona
2007 West End revival
2007 Broadway revival
2008 US Tour
2008 Paris revival
2011 Barcelona
2011 Chicago
2012 Madrid
2013 Australian Tour
2016 Royal Caribbean
2016 Fox Television Special
2017 UK Tour
2017 Paris revival
2018 Toronto

Grease was first performed in 1971 in the original Kingston Mines nightclub in Chicago (since demolished). From there, it has been successful on both stage and screen, but the content has been diluted and its teenage characters have become less Chicago habitués (the characters' Polish-American backgrounds in particular are ignored with last names often changed, although two Italian-American characters are left identifiably ethnic) and more generic. At the time that it closed in 1980, Grease's 3,388-performance run was the longest yet in Broadway history, although it was surpassed by A Chorus Line on September 29, 1983. It went on to become a West End hit, a successful feature film, two popular Broadway revivals in 1994 and 2007, and a staple of regional theatre, summer stock, community theatre, and high school and middle school drama groups.[5] It remains Broadway's 16th longest-running show.[6]

Grease was adapted in 1978 as a feature film also named Grease, which removed some plot elements, characters and songs while adding new songs and elaborating on some plot elements only alluded to in the musical. Some of these revisions have been incorporated into revivals of the musical (John Farrar, who wrote two of the new songs, is credited alongside Jacobs and Casey for the music in these productions). A 2016 live TV musical used elements from both the original stage version and the film.[7] A 1982 film sequel Grease 2, which featured only a few supporting characters from the film and musical, had no involvement from Jacobs or Casey; Jacobs is on record disapproving of Grease 2.

Production history

Original productions and Broadway

The show's original production was directed by Guy Barile, choreographed by Ronna Kaye and produced by the Kingston Mines Theater Company founded by June Pyskacek on Chicago's Lincoln Avenue. The script was based on Jim Jacobs' experience at William Taft High School, Chicago.[1] Warren Casey collaborated with Jim and together they wrote the music and lyrics. It ran for eight months.[8] The cast: Doug Stevenson (Danny), Leslie Goto (Sandy), Sue Williams (Rizzo), Polly Pen (Patty), Gary Houston (Roger), Marilu Henner (Marty), James Canning (Doody), Hedda Lubin (Frenchy), Bruce Hickey (Kenickie), Sheila Ray Ceaser (Jan), Bill Cervetti (Miller), Jerry Bolnick (Sonny), Judy Brubaker (Miss Lynch), Mike O'Connor (Vince Fontaine), Steve Munro (Eugene), Barbara Munro (Cha Cha), Mac Hamilton (Teen Angel) and George Lopez (Bum). In addition to the "R-rated" profanity and deliberate use of shock value, the Chicago version of Grease included an almost entirely different songbook, which was shorter and included multiple references to real Chicago landmarks.[9]

Producers Ken Waissman and Maxine Fox saw the show and made a deal to produce it Off-Broadway. The team headed to New York City to collaborate on the New York production of Grease. The new production, directed by Tom Moore and choreographed by Patricia Birch (who later choreographed the film adaptation, and directed the ill-fated sequel), opened Off-Broadway at the Eden Theatre in downtown Manhattan on February 14, 1972. Though Grease opened geographically off-Broadway, it did so under first class Broadway contracts.[10] The show was deemed eligible for the 1972 Tony Awards, receiving seven Tony Award nominations.

On June 7, 1972, the production moved to the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway, and on November 21, it moved to the Royale Theatre there, where it ran until January 27, 1980. For the five final weeks of the run, the show moved to the larger Majestic Theatre. By the time it closed on April 13, 1980, it had run 3,388 performances.

The original Broadway cast included Barry Bostwick as Danny and Carole Demas as Sandy, with Adrienne Barbeau as Rizzo, Timothy Meyers as Kenickie, Alan Paul, and Walter Bobbie and Marya Small in supporting roles. Replacements later in the run included Jeff Conaway (who had been the original understudy for Danny), Gail Edwards, Marilu Henner, Peter Gallagher, Ilene Graff, Judy Kaye, Patrick Swayze, John Travolta, Jerry Zaks, Rex Smith and Treat Williams. Richard Gere was an understudy for many roles in this production, including Danny Zuko, Teen Angel, and Vince Fontaine.

1973 London

The first exposure any Grease-related material had received in the United Kingdom was when The Wild Angels released a single containing three of the songs from the musical ("Greased Lightnin'," "Beauty School Dropout" and "Born to Hand Jive") in 1972.

A full staging of Grease made its London debut at the New London Theatre in June 1973 with a cast that included Richard Gere (the Broadway understudy) as Danny, Stacey Gregg as Sandy, Stephen Bent as Roger, Jacqui-Ann Carr as Rizzo, and Derek James as Doody.[11][12] Later Paul Nicholas and Elaine Paige, who had been in the London production of Hair, took over the leads. Kim Braden would also play Sandy. It was revived in London at the Astoria in 1979 with Su Pollard and Tracey Ullman in the cast.

1993 London revival

The revival opened at the Dominion Theatre before transferring to the Cambridge Theatre in October 1996, where it ran until September 11, 1999. Directed by David Gilmore and produced by Robert Stigwood (who had also produced the film), the opening cast included Craig McLachlan (Danny); Debbie Gibson (Sandy — Sonia, then Samantha Janus later replaced Gibson as Sandy); Mike Doyle (Vince Fontaine); Tamzin Outhwaite (Patty); Shane Ritchie (Kenickie) and Sally Ann Triplett (Rizzo). (Variety, Review Abroad Grease, August 2–August 8, 1993) McLachlan was succeeded by Shane Richie, Luke Goss, Ian Kelsey and Darren Day. The production's success led to the first British national tour which featured Shane Ritchie as Danny, Helen Way as Sandy, Toby Hinson as Vince Fontaine/Teen Angel, Ben Richards/Alex Bourne as Kenickie and Michele Hooper as Rizzo. The score included four songs written for the film adaptation: "Hopelessly Devoted to You", "Sandy", "You're the One That I Want", and the title number. As in the film, the Burger Palace Boys' were renamed the T-Birds for this revival.

1994 Broadway revival and U.S. tour

After 20 previews, a Broadway revival directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun opened on May 11, 1994, at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, where it ran for 1,505 performances. Featured were Ricky Paull Goldin (Danny), Brooke Shields and Rosie O'Donnell (Rizzo), Susan Wood (Sandy), Hunter Foster (Roger), Sam Harris (Doody), Megan Mullally (Marty), Heather Stokes (Jan), and Billy Porter (Teen Angel).

A U.S. national tour of the 1994 production started in September 1994 in New Haven, Connecticut, 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 Micky Dolenz (Vince Fontaine), Adrian Zmed (Danny), Debbie Gibson, Heather Stokes, Sheena Easton, Mackenzie Phillips and Jasmine Guy (Rizzo), Sutton Foster (Sandy understudy) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (Jan), and Lucy Lawless and Linda Blair (Rizzo, 1997).[13]

1996 U.S. tour

This tour, produced by the Troika Organization, was a non-union bus & truck playing mostly one-nighters and split week engagements primarily in smaller markets. The production, which ran for two years, was directed by Ray DeMattis with choreography by Tony Parise and music direction by Helen Gregory. The original cast featured Randy Bobish (Danny Zuko), Nicole Greenwood (Sandy Dumbrowski), Gary Martin (Kenickie), Christine Hudman (Betty Rizzo), Timothy Quinlan (Roger), Kimberly Wharton (Jan), Bruce Smith (Doody), Kathleen Connolly (Frenchy), Jeffrey Shubart (Sonny LaTierri), Laura Hornberger (Marty), Debbie Damp (Patty Simcox), Michael Giambrone (Eugene Florczyk), Juan Betancourt (Johnny Casino), Jamie Patterson (Teen Angel), and Steven Sackman (Vince Fontaine). Frankie Avalon starred as the Teen Angel for a one-week engagement at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach (December 10–15, 1996).[14]

2003 U.S. tour

This tour was directed by Ray DeMattis and featured choreography by Christopher Gattelli. The cast starred Frankie Avalon as the Angel, with Jamey Isenor (Danny Zuko) and Hanna-Liina Võsa (Sandy Dumbrowski), Jason Harper (Roger), Danny Smith (Sonny LaTierri), John Ashley (Kenickie), Sarah Hubbard (Frenchy), Craig McEldowney (Doody), Kirsten Allyn Michaels (Marty), Jaqueline Colmer (Betty Rizzo), Cortney Harper (Jan) and Arthur J. Callahan (Vince Fontaine).[15]

2007 Broadway and London revivals

A second Broadway revival, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre 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 is the T-Birds in this revival. The production ended on January 4, 2009 after 31 previews and 554 performances.[16]

A West End revival opened at the Piccadilly Theatre, London on August 8, 2007, and ran for nearly four years (the longest running show in the Piccadilly Theatre's history). The leads were similarly cast via ITV's Grease Is the Word, with Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden playing Danny and Sandy.[17][18] The production closed on April 30, 2011 after over 1,300 performances with a U.K. tour to begin on May 6, 2011 in Edinburgh.[19]

The UK tour features Danny Bayne as Danny, Carina Gillespie as Sandy, Ricky Rojas as Kenickie, Kate Somerset How as Rizzo, Derek Andrews as Roger, Laura Wilson as Jan, Richard Vincent as Doody, Lauren Stroud as Frenchy, Josh Dever as Sonny, Lois Urwin as Marty, Darren John as Eugene, Sammy Kelly as Patty, Jason Capewell as Teen Angel/Vince Fontaine, Nancy Hill as Miss Lynch, and Sophie Zucchini as Cha Cha.

In 2017, Grease started touring the UK again, this time starring The Wanted's Tom Parker as Danny Zuko, BBC Over The Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Sandy and Strictly Come Dancing's Louisa Lytton.

2008 U.S. tour

A U.S. national tour began on December 2, 2008 in Providence, Rhode Island and closed on May 23, 2010 at the Palace Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio.[20] Taylor Hicks reprised his role as the Teen Angel after playing the part on Broadway, with Eric Schneider as Danny and Emily Padgett as Sandy.[21] Lauren Ashley Zakrin replaced Emily Padgett as Sandy in October and Ace Young joined the tour as Danny on December 1, 2009.[22]

2013/14 Australian Production

An Australian revival opened at Brisbane's Lyric Theatre on August 27, 2013 before heading on an Australian tour.[23] The cast included Rob Mills as Danny, Gretel Scarlett as Sandy, Anthony Callea as Johnny Casino, Stephen Mahy as Kenickie, Lucy Maunder as Rizzo, Todd McKenney as Teen Angel, and Bert Newton as Vince Fontaine.[24]

Royal Caribbean

In 2016, Grease premiered on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.

During the 40th Anniversary year of Grease, Olivia Newton-John performed on the Harmony of the Seas in January 2018. Kory Fulton, who was playing Danny at the time, performed opposite of Newton-John.[25]

International productions

There have been professional productions of Grease in Argentina (cast: Florencia Peña/Gustavo Monje), Austria (cast:Pia Douwes)French Canada (a 1998 French spoken/English sung version incorporating songs from the movie starring Marina Orsini as Rizzo and Serge Postigo as Danny ),

In 1984, the Mexican pop band Timbiriche, starred in the musical, with Sasha Sokol and Benny Ibarra in the leading roles, getting an overwhelming success. Also recorded a CD with musical themes (Timbiriche Vaselina). Also participating the other members of Timbiriche (Diego Schoening, Mariana Garza, Alix Bauer, Paulina Rubio and Erik Rubin), besides other children singers and actors like Eduardo Capetillo, Stephanie Salas, Thalía, Edith Márquez, Lolita Cortés, Hector Suarez Gomis, Usi Velasco and Angélica Ruvalcaba among others. The musical was produced by the Mexican actress and producer Julissa.

In 1994, the musical was revived at the Hidalgo Theater in Mexico City, by producers Alejandro Ibarra and Julissa. The cast included Alejandro Ibarra, Juan Carlos Casasola, and Arturo G. Alvarez, among others.[26][27]

A Spanish revival ran successfully at Teatre Victòria, Barcelona from October 3, 2006 to January 6, 2008. After a short national tour, the production was transferred to Teatro Nuevo Alcalá, Madrid, where it ran from October 14, 2008 to January 31, 2010 and then continued touring Spain until it finally closed on August 1, 2010, becoming one of the Spain's longest running production in history with 1090 performances. Directed by Ricard Reguant, the original cast included Carlos Solano (later alternating the role with Tony Bernetti) as Danny Zuko, María Adamuz as Sandy (later Replaced by Edurne and Gisela), Elena Gadel as Betty Rizzo,

The New Zealand Production , ran at the Civic Theatre in Auckland during August 2010. The production featured the South African cast, with Jonathan Roxmouth as Danny, Bethany Dickson as Sandy and Genna Galloway as Rizzo.[28][29]

A second Spanish revival directed and choreographed by Coco Comín ran at Cúpula Las Arenas, Barcelona from November 15, 2011 to January 22, 2012 and then was transferred to Teatro Coliseum, Madrid from March 6, 2012 to May 6, 2012, before starting a national tour. Edurne reprised the role of Sandy, During the Madrid run, the singer Julio Iglesias, Jr. guest starred as Teen Angel in some performances.

In France, the first production of Grease opened on November, 1999 at Palais des Sports in Paris. The production moved at the Dôme Disney Village in Chessy in 2005.[30] The show was revived in 2008 at the Comédia in Paris with Cécilia Cara as Sandy. This new production win a Globe de Cristal Awards in 2009 and moved to Palais des congrès in 2009 and to Le Palace in 2012, after a break in 2011.[31] A third revival opened on September 28, 2017 at Théâtre Mogador in Paris. It is the first production completely in French, the previous ones were in French with English songs. Despite originally being billed as a limited engagement, it was extended to July 8, 2018 following its success.[32]



The Robert Stigwood Organization adapted Grease into a 1978 feature film, directed by Randal Kleiser and choreographed by Patricia Birch. In addition to Birch, three performers from the stage version carried over to the cast: Jamie Donnelly reprised her role as Jan, John Travolta performed as lead Danny Zuko while Jeff Conaway played Kenickie. Olivia Newton-John was cast as Sandy; to accommodate the casting move, the character's nationality was rewritten, and two songs added (the big-band inspired "You're the One that I Want" and ballad "Hopelessly Devoted to You").

Grease was a major success for both Stigwood and Paramount Pictures, who re-released the film several times; the film soundtrack made international hits out of several of the songs. Paramount also produced a sequel Grease 2, and followed a younger class of students at Rydell High School. Grease 2 was both a critical failure and, while barely profitable, a financial disappointment given the high expectations set by the original film.

Television production

On January 31, 2016, in the wake of similar productions that NBC had performed for other musicals, Fox broadcast a live production of Grease, known as Grease: Live, as a television special starring Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, and Vanessa Hudgens.[33][34]


(Because of changes to the musical that have been made since the 1978 film, several variants exist. In the event two songs are listed at any given point, the first is from the 1972 Off-Broadway version, and the second is from revivals that use the film music, such as the 2007 version.)

Act I

In revivals that use the 1978 song "Grease," it is typically inserted at or near the beginning of the show.

The musical begins with all of the cast coming to school and getting ready in Rydell High School Class of 1959 reunion headed by old maid English teacher, Miss Lynch, who sings with Patty and Eugene the school anthem ("Alma Mater"). She welcomes former cheerleader/yearbook-editor Patty Simcox Honeywell and class valedictorian Eugene Florczyk. Eugene gives a rousing speech, mentioning that the alumni who are missing from the reunion are surely present in-spirit. Suddenly, the greaser gang known as the Burger Palace Boys (known in later versions as the "T-Birds") and their auxiliary, the "Pink Ladies", appear and recite their own parody of the Rydell anthem ("Alma Mater (Parody)").

The scene fades into Rydell High's first day of the new school year. The Pink Ladies sit in the lunchroom, and the Burger Palace Boys sit at the entrance to the school. There is a new girl at school, Sandy Dumbrowski, who had been unjustly rejected from a Catholic school. She describes to the Pink Ladies (Frenchy, Marty, Jan and Rizzo) how she had a brief love affair the summer before, which ended with unresolved love. Unbeknownst to Sandy, her lover, Danny, attends Rydell, and is a member of the greaser gang. In describing the fling, Sandy focuses on the romance, while Danny exaggerates to the other Burger Palace Boys (Kenickie, Roger, Doody and Sonny) regarding the physical aspects of their relationship ("Summer Nights").

The Pink Ladies soon after realize that Sandy's summer fling was the same Danny Zuko that attends Rydell High and arrange for the two to bump into each other at school; the resulting meeting is tense and awkward, as Danny had previously told Sandy that he attended a private academy and does not want to admit to the Burger Palace Boys that she was the woman he was talking about. As the Burger Palace Boys leave, Sandy is heartbroken, but the Pink Ladies calm her down, cheer her up, and invite her over to Marty's pajama party. Shortly afterwards, the teenagers gather in the hall as Doody shows off his new guitar. The rock star wannabe 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. The sheltered Sandy goes into shock from seeing blood when the Pink Ladies try to pierce her ears, leading them to mock her when she's not in the room (in some revivals, the song "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" is placed here, mirroring the film). Marty tells about her long-distance courtship with a Marine named Freddy, which is implied she only maintains because of the lavish gifts he sends her from Japan ("Freddy, My Love"). That same night, the Burger Palace Boys are busy stealing hubcaps and teasing Kenickie about his "new" used car, Greased Lightning. An unfazed Kenickie firmly believes that with some upgrades, the car will be a racing-worthy chick magnet ("Greased Lightnin'").

Danny sees Sandy again at her cheerleader practice, and tries to apologize for his behavior. Head cheerleader Patty Simcox interrupts and flirts with Danny. Patty informs Danny that track try-outs are nearing, and Danny tells Sandy that he will join the track team to prove that he is sophisticated. After Danny leaves, Patty and Sandy practice their cheer choreography ("Rydell Fight Song").

The Burger Palace Boys and Pink Ladies take their newfangled portable radios for a picnic in the park. Danny reveals to the rest of the greasers that he has joined the track team, much to their dismay and skepticism. After Roger and Jan bicker about food, drink and religion, she asks him how he earned the nickname Rump; he explains that, as "King of the Mooners," he has a hobby of baring his backside to unsuspecting victims, and in the process, both reveal their affections for each other ("Mooning"). Rizzo teases Danny for falling for a girl who resembles the excessively proper teenage ingénue, Sandra Dee, and the other greasers join in as she makes fun of Sandy, who has not arrived to the picnic yet ("Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee").

Sandy, working on a biology assignment with Eugene, comes in just as the greasers finish making fun of her. She attacks Rizzo in a fit of rage and erroneously assumes Danny is the one behind the mockery. Furious, she tells Danny that she wishes she never met him and storms out of the picnic. Danny shrugs off Sandy's negative response, and the greasers pair off for the upcoming sock hop. Danny teases Marty for not having a date (recommending Eugene), and the greasers all laugh, declaring that they will be friends no matter what ("We Go Together").

For revivals that use "Hopelessly Devoted to You," the exact placement varies. It sometimes replaces the first rendition of "We Go Together" and in other examples, such as the 2007 revival, it is placed early in Act II.

Act II

It is the night of the school dance where everyone is having fun dancing in the gym ("Shakin' At the High School Hop"). Sandy is at home by herself, listening to the radio and crying over how much she misses Danny ("It's Raining on Prom Night").

Meanwhile, Kenickie comes into the dance with his date, Cha-Cha DiGregorio, a beastly girl from Saint Bernadette's Academy. Patty tries to pair up with Danny, trash-talking Sandy's cheerleading skills in the process, but is unable to get out of her promise to dance with Eugene despite Rizzo trying to seduce Eugene as a distraction. Kenickie ends up paired off with Rizzo, and Danny with Cha-Cha. The MC Vince Fontaine, a radio disc jockey, begins the hand jive dance contest, and everyone eagerly participates as he tags the contestants out ("Born to Hand Jive"). In the end, Danny and Cha-Cha are the winners. Amongst the awards given to the couple, Danny receives two free drive-in movie tickets.

Sometime later outside of the Burger Palace hangout, Kenickie, Doody, and Sonny run into Frenchy. The boys are armed with an "arsenal" of household items and reveal that, to their surprise, Cha-Cha was the girlfriend of someone in the Burger Palace Boys' rival gang, the Flaming Dukes. Cha-Cha told the Flaming Dukes about how she danced with Danny, and, as a response, the Flaming Dukes challenged the Burger Palace Boys to a rumble. Danny sprints into the scene, wearing a track suit after having joined the Rydell track team, to the disapproval and confusion of the other Burger Palace boys. Danny turns down their urgent invitation to the Flaming Dukes rumble due to time conflicts with a track race, which he sprints off to.

The three remaining Burger Palace Boys go into the Burger Palace for a snack before the fight, and Frenchy laments at what to do with her life, having dropped out of beauty school in frustration at failing all of her classes. The heavenly Teen Angel appears with a chorus of back-up singing angels and tells her to return to high school ("Beauty School Dropout").

The three Burger Palace Boys exit the Burger Palace, bemoaning Danny's betrayal while only halfheartedly noticing Roger is unaccounted for. They wait for the Flaming Dukes, but the rival gang never turns up. Roger finally turns up with a car antenna as his weapon, and the greasers criticize him for showing up so late with such a pathetic excuse for a weapon. Roger challenges the three Burger Palace Boys, who proceed to run off with Roger's pants and shoes.

In the next scene, Danny and Sandy are in Greased Lightning, watching a drive-in movie. Danny tells Sandy how upset his buddies are at him, and how sorry he is for his companion's behavior during the picnic. After Danny offers Sandy a ring, he attempts to get intimate with her, but moves too fast, and she leaves. Danny misses Sandy, and wishes that they could be together again ("Alone at a Drive-In Movie" or "Sandy").

Several days later, Sandy and the greasers — without Danny — are having a party in Jan's basement as Doody, on guitar, performs alongside Roger ("Rock 'N' Roll Party Queen"). Rizzo, who missed her period, suspects she is pregnant and tells the Pink Ladies that the father is a stranger who had sex with her with a cheap, broken condom. The Burger Palace Boys offer support, which Rizzo rejects. Rizzo is left alone with Sandy, who questions Rizzo on why she rejected her friends and deduces that Kenickie was the presumptive father. Rizzo responds by saying that she is a better person than others make her out to be and that showing weakness is the worst thing she knows ("There Are Worse Things I Could Do"). Rizzo leaves, and Sandy decides what she needs to do to fit in with the greasers ("Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" (Reprise)).

The next day, the Burger Palace Boys are hanging out at the Burger Palace. Patty Simcox comes in, miserable and emotionally hurt. She tells them that Danny quit the track team and gave the finger to the coach. The Burger Palace Boys laugh and congratulate Danny, who returns. Sandy comes in alongside the Pink Ladies, having transformed herself from an innocent schoolgirl into a greaser's dream date, punching out a dismayed Patty. Danny is delighted at this change and the couple express their mutual feelings for each other ("All Choked Up" or "You're the One That I Want").

Afterwards, the other Burger Palace Boys and Pink Ladies cheer for Danny and Sandy being together again. They happily invite Patty to watch The Mickey Mouse Club with them at Roger's house, and she agrees. Frenchy takes a job as a makeup saleswoman at Woolworth's, Rizzo reveals that she is not pregnant, and she and Kenickie reunite. All ends happily, and the Burger Palace Boys, the Pink Ladies, Sandy, and Patty sing about how they will always be friends to the end ("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, 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.

School Version

In order to make the original musical suitable for young performers and audiences, Jim Jacobs decided to write a "School Version" of the musical. This edition eliminates all of the references and uses of cigarettes and alcohol, as well as any swearing or bad language. Practically all of the songs have undergone changes as well; the numbers are all shortened tremendously and edited for content/language. Some plot lines are missing from the school version, such as Rizzo's pregnancy and her song "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" and “Hopelessly Devoted”. This section is entirely cut from the script and score. The beginning of the pajama party in Marty's bedroom is cut as well. (In this version, the Pink Ladies do not offer Sandy cigarettes or wine. Instead it begins directly with piercing her ears.) Overall, this version is considered to be G-rated.[35]

In addition to the removal of "There Are Worse Things I Could Do," and Hopelessly Devoted, the following songs of the School Version have undergone lyric changes:[36]

  • "Alma Mater Parody"
  • "Summer Nights"
  • "Freddy, My Love"
  • "Greased Lightnin'"
  • "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee"
  • "Beauty School Dropout"

The remainder of the songs have been edited severely for time, deleting several verses from the original songs.[37]

A version of the play is available that keeps some of the adult references and innuendo but excises some of the more explicit lyrics.

Cast and characters

  • Danny Zuko: A smooth greaser from Chicago and successful womanizer, the de facto leader of the Burger Palace Boys has his life upended when he falls for a strait-laced square during his summer vacation leading into senior year.
  • Sandra "Sandy" Dombrowski: An innocent ingenue, when she moves into the neighborhood she experiences severe culture shock as she learns her summer boyfriend's true nature but eventually transforms into Danny's fantasy after she is unable to resist her continued attraction to him.
  • Betty Rizzo: Described by Jim Jacobs as a "tough little Italian," Rizzo is the cynical leader of the Pink Ladies and a strong alpha female who embraces the low culture and refuses to show her feelings. While she is condescending toward almost everyone, she and Danny have a particularly longstanding hostility toward each other, and she openly mocks Sandy in song.
  • Kenickie: A hard-nosed tough guy, Kenickie has great pride in his investment, a used car he has named Greased Lightning. He has a tempestuous on-again, off-again relationship with Rizzo.
  • Roger "Rump": A sardonic yet very self-confident Burger Palace Boy who is easily able to win over Jan and willing to go into a rumble with only a whip antenna as a weapon. He is frequently seen eating fast food and earned his nickname because he was a proficient mooner. He is stated to be a Roman Catholic. Roger's character was largely written out of the film adaptation.
  • Jan: A member of the Pink Ladies, Jan is a quirky Lutheran who has a voracious appetite and has moments of extreme bluntness. Jamie Donnelly, who played Jan on stage and in the film, described her as not being as cool as the other Pink Ladies.[38] She and Roger develop a relationship over the course of the musical, but the two frequently bicker.
  • Doody: A younger member of the Burger Palace Boys, Doody has some childlike mannerisms and is shown to have great difficulty when approaching his crush, Frenchy, or handling tense situations. He fantasizes about being a great rock-and-roll guitarist.
  • Frenchy: A member of the Pink Ladies, Frenchy is the first person (other than Danny) to meet Sandy, and the two quickly become friends. She claims to have earned her nickname from being able to "French inhale" a cigarette. She is a very poor student with aspirations of becoming a beautician, but she is equally inept when she drops out to attend beauty school.
  • Dominic "Sonny" LaTierri: The only member of the Burger Palace Boys without a musical number, Sonny is a character who imagines himself a Casanova, but most women find him repulsive. He is also quite cowardly, wilting in the face of any criticism.
  • Marty: Given the surname "Maraschino" in the film, Marty is a seasoned member of the Pink Ladies, with much experience in wine, men and cigarettes, and is bigoted against the Japanese and Polish. In Act One, she is said to be engaged to an overseas Marine, mainly because of the expensive gifts she receives by maintaining the relationship. In Act Two, she has a brief fling with DJ Vince Fontaine, and by the end she succumbs to Sonny's advances.
  • Patricia "Patty" Simcox: A high-achieving cheerleader who befriends Sandy early in the play, Patty holds her own attractions to Danny and is especially drawn to him when he tries to change to please Sandy. Sandy turns against her at the end of the play. Other than Rizzo (who treats her with contempt), the other greasers are amicable with her, while acknowledging their different social cliques. At the beginning of the play, it is noted that she has since gone on to marry a Mr. Honeywell and have a successful career.
  • Eugene Florczyk: The class valedictorian is usually portrayed as an awkward nerd. He goes on to become a marketing executive after high school.
  • Miss Lynch: a spinster English teacher and stereotypical disciplinarian.
  • Vince Fontaine: the smooth-talking 19-year-old disc jockey and Rydell High alumnus whose voice-overs serve as continuity for the musical. He appears on-stage during the school dance and serves as an on-air host at WAXX, the local top-40 radio station.
  • Johnny Casino and the Gamblers: a low-rent rock and roll band that plays at the school dance.
  • Charlene "Cha-Cha" DiGregorio: a beastly woman who appears at the school dance as Kenickie's date, later ends up dancing with Danny, and is ultimately revealed as the girlfriend of a rival greaser gang member.
  • Teen Angel: Frenchy's guardian angel who has blunt advice for his subject.

Notable cast members

Role Chicago world premiere (1971)
Kingston Mines Theatre Company
Broadway premiere (1972)
Broadhurst Theatre
London premiere (1973)
New London Theatre
Motion picture (1978) London revival (1993)
Dominion Theatre
Broadway revival (1994)
Eugene O'Neill Theatre
Broadway revival (2007)
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
FOX television production (2016)
Danny Zuko Doug Stevenson Barry Bostwick Richard Gere/Patrick Swayze John Travolta Craig McLachlan Ricky Paull Goldin Max Crumm Aaron Tveit
Sandy Dumbrowski (renamed Olsson for the film and Young for the 2016 TV production) Leslie Goto Carole Demas Stacey Gregg Olivia Newton-John Debbie Gibson Susan Wood Laura Osnes Julianne Hough
Kenickie Bruce Hickey Timothy Meyers Peter Armitage Jeff Conaway Shane Richie Jason Opsahl Matt Saldivar Carlos PenaVega
Doody Jim Canning James Canning Derek James Barry Pearl John Combe Sam Harris Ryan Patrick Binder Jordan Fisher
Sonny LaTierri Gerald Bolnick Jim Borrelli Doug Fisher Michael Tucci Richard Calkin Carlos Lopez José Restrepo Andrew Call
Roger (replaced with Putzie for the film)‡ Gary Houston Walter Bobbie Stephen Bent Kelly Ward
Louis St. Louis*
Drew Jaymson Hunter Foster Daniel Everidge David Del Rio*
Betty Rizzo Susan Williams Adrienne Barbeau Jacqui-Ann Carr Stockard Channing Sally Ann Triplett Rosie O'Donnell/Brooke Shields Jenny Powers Vanessa Hudgens
Frenchy Hedda Lubin Marya Small Felicity Harrison Didi Conn Jo Bingham Jessica Stone Kirsten Wyatt Carly Rae Jepsen
Marty Marilu Henner Katie Hanley Hilary Labow Dinah Manoff Charlotte Avery Megan Mullally Robyn Hurder Keke Palmer
Jan Sheila Ray Ceaser Garn Stephens Colette Kelly Jamie Donnelly Liz Ewing Heather Stokes Lindsay Mendez Kether Donohue
Miss Lynch (rewritten as Principal McGee in film and television productions) Judy Brubaker Dorothy Leon Ann Way Eve Arden Myra Sands Marcia Lewis Susan Blommaert Ana Gasteyer
Eugene Florczyk (renamed Felsnick in film) Steve Munro Tom Harris Stephen Marsh Eddie Deezen Aidan Treays Jamison Scott Noah Robbins
Patty Simcox Polly Pen Ilene Kristen Claire Faulcon Bridge Susan Buckner Tamzin Outhwaite Michelle Blakely Allison Fischer Elle McLemore
Vince Fontaine Mike O'Connor Don Billett Roy Desmond Edd Byrnes Gary Martin/Mike Doyle Toby Hinson Jeb Brown Mario Lopez
Johnny Casino Alan Paul Steve Alder Screamin' Scott Simon Glenn Carter Paul Castree Joe Jonas
Charlene "Cha-Cha" DiGregorio Barbara Munro Kathi Moss Julie Henderson Annette Charles Heather Robbins Sandra Purpuro Natalie Hill Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer
Teen Angel Mac Hamilton Alan Paul Steve Alder Frankie Avalon Andrew Kennedy/Toby Hinson Billy Porter Stephen R. Buntrock/Taylor Hicks Boyz II Men

The ‡The character of Roger does not appear in the film or television versions. Putzie, a non-singing character, appears in Roger's stead, portrayed by Kelly Ward in the film and David Del Rio in the teleplay. Roger's songs were included on the film's soundtrack, performed by Louis St. Louis; they were left out of the teleplay.

A number of characters in the musical are unseen characters: Freddy Strulka, Marty's boyfriend and a member of the United States Marine Corps who showers Marty with lavish gifts from Japan; the coach of the track team; the Flaming Dukes, an adversary of the Burger Palace Boys who never show up to a threatened rumble; and Mr. Drucker, a perverted economic teacher who has made passes at the Pink Ladies. In the film, the Flaming Dukes are renamed the Scorpions and have an on-screen role, as does the track coach (who is surnamed Calhoun and is portrayed by Sid Caesar).

Musical numbers

1972 production

* The 1972 version is the standard version licensed to professionals and amateurs through Samuel French, Inc. in the US and Theatrical Rights Worldwide Ltd in the UK/IE/Europe

1993 revival

1994 revival

2007 revival

* The 2007 revival incorporates some changes from the popular film version. Some numbers were eliminated, and others were added to the score: "Grease" was 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. These additional songs require a separate license from the Robert Stigwood Organisation.[39]


The original score calls for a piano, two tenor saxophones, bass guitar, percussion, and two guitars. The 2007 revival includes two pianos, two reeds, trombone, trumpet, guitar, bass guitar, and percussion.

Awards and honors

Original Broadway production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1972 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Choreography Patricia Birch Won
Outstanding Costume Design Carrie Robbins Won
Theatre World Award Adrienne Barbeau Won
Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Barry Bostwick Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Timothy Meyers Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Adrienne Barbeau Nominated
Best Choreography Patricia Birch Nominated
Best Costume Design Carrie Robbins Nominated

1993 West End revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1993 Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Theater Choreography Arlene Philips Nominated

1994 Broadway revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1994 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Sam Harris Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Jeff Calhoun Nominated
Theatre World Award Brooke Shields Won
Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Marcia Lewis Nominated
Best Choreography Jeff Calhoun Nominated

2007 Broadway revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2007 Tony Award[40] Best Revival of a Musical Nominated

See also


  1. Woulfe, Molly. " 'Grease' has deep, dark Chicago roots" NW Times, January 2, 2009, retrieved January 10, 2017
  2. Defiglio, Pam (February 19, 2009). "Debate plays on for Chicago guitarist's induction into Taft High School's Hall of Fame: Group wants late guitarist added to school hall of fame". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. Retrieved November 27, 2009. Alumni honored in Taft's Hall of Fame include ... Jim Jacobs, who based his musical "Grease" on Taft High School Jupe.
  3. Miller, Scott (March 30, 2007). "Inside Grease". New Line Theatre. Retrieved July 10, 2008.
  4. Newmark, Judith (August 1, 2014). "'Grease' gets the splashy Muny treatment | Theater reviews". Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  5. Time, May 26, 2008, p. 51: this musical ranked as the sixth most frequently produced musical by United States high schools in 2007.
  6. "Long Runs on Broadway". August 14, 2011. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009.
  7. Rooney, David (January 25, 2016). "'Hamilton's' Thomas Kail Makes the Leap to TV for "Bold" Take on 'Grease: Live'". The Hollywood Reporter. Lynne Segall. Retrieved February 3, 2016. What we're doing here is taking the spine of the film and then also having access to parts of the stage play.
  9. "Bring back our own, original R-rated 'Grease'". January 8, 2009. Archived from the original on November 17, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  10. Guernsey, edited by Otis L. (1972). The Best plays of 1971–1972. New York: Dodd, Mead. p. 492. ISBN 0-396-06698-4.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  11. Green, Stanley."'Grease', London, 1973" Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre, Da Capo Press, 1980, ISBN 0-306-80113-2, p.160
  12. Hepple, Peter."'Grease' history" (from The Stage), October 10, 2002, accessed August 26, 2011
  13. "Lucy Lawless is Rizzo in Broadway's Grease! Musical September 1997". Archived from the original on August 8, 2004. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  14. "Grease National Tour". Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  15. "'Grease' Listing at TUTS, October 14 – November 2, 2003", accessed August 26, 2011
  16. "GREASE to Close on Broadway January 4, 2009". Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  17. Atkins, Tom."Review Round-Up of London Opening: Grease Not the Word for Critics" Archived September 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, August 9, 2007
  18. Grease in London, retrieved March 9, 2010
  19. Shenton, Mark."London Production of Grease to Shutter April 30, Prior to New U.K. Tour" Archived January 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, September 16, 2010
  20. " 'Grease' National Tour to Play Final Performance May 23", accessed May 28, 2010
  21. Gans, Andrew."Grease Tour, with "American Idol" Winner Hicks, Kicks Off Dec. 2 in RI" Archived January 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,, December 2, 2008
  22. "Ace Young, Allison Fischer, Laura D'Andre, Jesse JP Johnson and Jamison Scott Join GREASE TOUR". November 29, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  23. Cameron Pegg (August 27, 2013). "Latest Grease little less slick". Arts. The Australian. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  24. "GREASE Cast Announced". Stage Whispers. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  25. "Saint Johner sings with Olivia Newton-John on world's largest cruise | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  26. "Vaselina 94". Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  27. "Contact Support". Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  28. "'Grease' Overview" Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed August 26, 2011
  29. Ward-Smythe, Kate."The Campest 'Grease' Ever", August 12, 2010
  30. "« Grease » triomphe chez Disney". Le Parisien (in French). December 18, 2005.
  31. "Grease : de nouvelles informations sur l'équipe créative". Musical Avenue (in French). August 10, 2008.
  32. "Grease à Mogador : une réussite débordante d'énergie et de bonne humeur". Le Figaro (in French). September 29, 2017.
  33. Ryan, Maureen. "TV Review: 'Grease Live!'". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  34. "Fox Orders 'Grease Live' Broadcast for 2015". The Hollywood Reporter. April 28, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  36. "Grease:School Version". Samuel French UK. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  37. "Grease:School Version". Samuel French UK. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  38. Gliatto, Tom; and O'Neill Anne-Marie. "Grease Is the Word: Twenty Years Later, the Stars Are Still True to Their School", People (magazine), April 13, 1998. Accessed September 13, 2011. "'I always felt Jan was the person most like the audience,' says Jamie Donnelly, 50, who dyed her prematurely gray hair to play the pigtailed Pink Lady. 'She wasn't as cool as the other ones.' The Teaneck, N.J., native now lives in La Canada, Calif., with her husband, screenwriter Stephen Foreman, son Sevi, 10, and daughter Madden Rose, 8."
  39. The Broadway League. "Internet Broadway Database: Grease Production Credits". Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  40. Internet Broadway Database listing, 'Grease', 2007 revival, retrieved January 26, 2010


  • Synopsis and other information
  • Winer, Linda. "Hopelessly Devoted to Grease", Newsday, January 7, 2007
  • Understudy, Vol. 1, September 2006; magazine of the Fulton Theatre, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • "The 1970s, Part I: Rock Musicals," John Kenrick,, accessed on 19 May, 2017,
  • Miller, Scott. “inside GREASE." In Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Musicals. Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2011.
Preceded by
Fiddler on the Roof
Longest-running Broadway show
Succeeded by
A Chorus Line
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