Grease [Original Broadway Cast]

Grease [Original Broadway Cast]


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In the late '60s and early '70s, an unlikely wave of nostalgia for the 1950s swept American popular culture. The stoned hippies still remaining on the last morning of the Woodstock Festival in August 1969 may have thought they were hallucinating when the gold lamé-clad members of Sha Na Na enthusiastically performed '50s hits, and the group, made up of Columbia University alumni, actually was intended as a camp parody, but the crowds attending promoter Richard Nader's Rock & Roll Revival concerts at Madison Square Garden were serious and sincere, and faded stars like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard mounted comebacks. In the revisionist telling, the '50s, the era of conformity, the Cold War, and McCarthyism, somehow was recast as a period of fun, innocence, and romance. Songwriter/librettists Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey drew upon this fantasy for their off-Broadway musical Grease, which opened on February 14, 1972, quickly attracted audiences, and moved to Broadway on June 7, 1972. Jacobs and Casey's score sets the tone for the show, though it's often hard to tell whether they're making fun of the '50s or evoking it affectionately; a little of both, it seems. One hint is the frequent references to movie stars of the decade. (The virginal character, Sandy Dumbrowski, played by Carole Demas, is referred to as "Sandra D.," and the Girl with a Reputation, Betty Rizzo [Adrienne Barbeau] sings a sarcastic song called "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" that also references Doris Day and Annette Funicello.) If they aren't concerned with the real '50s, Jacobs and Casey want to update the imagined '50s of Hollywood movies with an arched eyebrow and a knowing wink. At the same time, their songs, all pastiches of late '50s pop
ock styles, are closer to copies than the send-ups Charles Strouse and Lee Adams wrote for Bye Bye Birdie in 1960. And while their cast performs the material in an exaggerated manner, the effect remains more comic than satiric. This is a show for people who lived through the '50s and now, more than a decade later, would like to remember it only for its high-school fashions, teenage emotional concerns, and bouncy rock & roll tunes. If the music itself isn't a patch on the originals, that doesn't matter so much. No wonder it became a hit. (Grease went on to a run of 3,388 performances, making it the longest running Broadway musical in history up to its time. In 1978, it was adapted into a popular movie.)

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/1990
Label: Polydor / Umgd
UPC: 0042282754820
catalogNumber: 827548
Rank: 53665

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