Hard to imagine now, but this show was created initially with very little music. And when it debuted in Chicago, it even had a different title: Greased Lightning. Some smart people saw the show and told the creators (Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey) that it could be a hit on Broadway with a little work. I guess they were right – the show opened in New York in 1972 and ran for a then-record 3,388 performances.
When we think of Grease today, we’re influenced by the movie version. No wonder – the play has changed during its several revivals to include plot elements and songs (“Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “You’re the One that I Want,” “Sandy,” and “Grease”) from the film version. It’s had Broadway revivals in 1994 and 2007, and national tours in 1994, 2003, 2008, and 2010-11. Not to mention productions at community theaters from coast to coast.
Quite a few stars have had parts on Broadway or on the national tours. Among them:
DANNY: Barry Bostwick, Treat Williams, Patrick Swayze, David Hasselhoff, Rex Smith, Jeff Conaway, Jon Secada, Richard Gere, and Ace Young.
SANDY: Andrea McArdle, Lea Salonga, and Debbie Gibson.
RIZZO: Adrienne Barbeau, Lucy Lawless, Rosie O’Donnell, Linda Blair, Debbie Boone, Sheena Easton, Jasmine Guy, Joely Fisher, Maureen McCormick, Mackenzie Phillips, Jody Watley, and Brooke Shields.
OTHERS: Tracey Ullman, Marilu Henner, Megan Mullally, Davy Jones, Chubby Checker, Jennifer Holliday, Al Jarreau, Taylor Hicks, Mickey Dolenz, Joe Piscopo, and Peter Scolari.