Anniversary: Hopelessly devoted to 40 years of ‘Grease’

Click the DVD cover to visit Grease’s Amazon page.Did you know? A then-unknown Richard Gere starred as “Danny” in London’s opening production of Grease in 1973!

THURSDAY, JUNE 7: Rydell High, the T-birds, the Pink Ladies and summer nights can only mean one thing: “Greaseis the word!” On this date in 1972, the original high school musical opened on Broadway. Just one year earlier, a vulgar musical about a group of teenagers didn’t show much potential; once the show was reworked into a tamer, more melodic performance, audiences started filling the theater. The original Broadway run of Grease—which started 40 years ago today—ran 3,388 shows, breaking records as the longest-running performance on Broadway. (Wikipedia has details.) Today, Grease claims the 14th spot on Broadway’s list of longest-running shows.

Grease follows high school seniors Sandy and Danny through a summer romance, and on through the trials of teen love. Ten students take viewers on a ride through the dramas of youth, touching on everything from popularity to peer pressure to miscommunication—and everything in between. A landscape of classic cars, rock ‘n roll, drive-ins and too much hair gel draws on deep wells of nostalgia in American culture. Despite such a successful Broadway run (with two more Broadway revivals to follow), the most renowned moments of Grease likely involve John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John: The 1978 movie version of Grease was a huge hit with millions of Americans eager for some Grease Lightning. Millions continue to “like” the movie Grease. (Just check out the Facebook page!)

Hungry for more Grease? Try your hand at a quiz to figure out which character you’re most like! (Here’s a version of the quiz for women only.) Or you can travel to the UK, where Grease is currently touring. The last U.S. tour of Grease ended in May of last year, and since 1972, the musical has hit 22 other countries.

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