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Theatre / Grease

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"We'll always be together..."

Grease is an American stage musical written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. It is set in a 1950s America high school and revolves around the Greaser Delinquents subculture.

The story goes like this: Rydell High School's resident troublemakers are the Burger Palace Boys (renamed the T-Birds in later productions) and their auxiliary, a group of girls known as the Pink Ladies. Their king is Danny Zuko, and he's back at Rydell for senior year. Meanwhile, sheltered transfer student Sandy Dumbrowski befriends the Pink Ladies and tells them about her dizzying summer fling with Danny, not knowing they'd both end up at Rydell. Danny and Sandy are reunited, but his tough-guy act causes conflict between them. Can everyone get through rumbles, sock hops, drag races, romantic tribulations, and other seminal events of 1950s high school?

The musical debuted in Chicago in 1971 before a move to Broadway in 1972. Several revivals and restagings have been produced since, as has a 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

Fox televised a live adaptation of the musical on January 31, 2016, directed by Thomas Kail and starring Julianne Hough as Sandy and Aaron Tveit as Danny. Others included Carly Rae Jepsen as Frenchy, Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo, and Keke Palmer as Marty. Mario Lopez appeared as Vince Fontaine, Wendell Pierce played Coach Calhoun, and Boyz II Men were featured as the Teen Angels. Unlike NBC's adaptations of The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz, Grease: Live featured a studio audience. Jessie J performed the theme song from the film, and DNCE made a special guest appearance.

Summer tropin' had me a blast:

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    Multiple Versions 
  • Accidental Hug: Danny and Kenickie participate in one before the big race, complete with slicking back the hair to regain their cool.
  • Adaptation Name Change: A few of them, from Broadway to film:
    • Sandy Dumbrowski had her surname changed to "Olsson", and is moving from Australia, to accommodate the casting of Olivia Newton-John.
      • Further changed to "Young", this time moving from Utah, for the 2016 TV musical version.
    • Roger (nicknamed "Rump") became "Putzie"
    • Eugene Florzyck had his surname changed to "Felsnick".
    • Miss Lynch became "Principal McGee"
    • The Burger Palace Boys had their gang name changed to "The T-Birds" (which was also used in one of the Broadway revivals). Their rivals, "The Flaming Dukes", became "The Scorpions" and received an on-screen role.
    • The greasers' hangout restaurant is renamed from the "Burger Palace" to the "Frosty Palace", although burgers are still served there, nonetheless.
    • In an example from the '71 Kingston Mines staging to Broadway: Danny's second in command was originally named "Miller" and there was a younger, nerdy greaser named "Kenickie". The Broadway version cut the original "Kenickie" and gave his name to the other guy, and it stuck with all later adaptations (including the brief revival of the Chicago version, where the sixth greaser was called "Miller").
    • In a remake of the Kingston Mines version (produced for its 40th anniversary in 2011), Coach Grabowski was renamed to "Coach Sakowitz".
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the character bios for the musical, Cha-Cha is described as being a plain, slovenly type of girl, and was originally played by plus-size actresses who were otherwise made up to look less attractive. In the film and some stagings of the musical (such as the '94 revival by Tommy Tune), she's made out to be more conventionally beautiful; in the Fox Live version she's a Spicy Latina.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Sandy in the theatrical version was American, but when Olivia Newton-John was cast in the film version, the character was made Australian to account for her accent. In the 2016 version, she's changed to being from Salt Lake City, due to Julianne Hough being from Utah.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The early version of the musical had six greasers, but the sixth was cut when the show went to Broadway. A principal named "Dr. Devlin" was also lost in the Broadway alterations, along with some minor characters like a police officer, and a bum. A coach (Grabowski) was also in the script, but his scene was cut for time in the Kingston Mines production. It was reinstated in the revival.
    • A 40th anniversary re-staging of the original Kingston Mines version originally included adult versions of Marty, Jan, Roger, Kenickie, and Frenchy in the Time Skip framing sequence. These roles were cut in later stagings, to shorten the length of the show. Dr. Devlin was excluded from the remake, as the time skip changed from taking place in 1970 to taking place in 2010 (the director felt Devlin would either be long dead by now or at least much too elderly to be hosting a 40th high school reunion).
  • Affectionate Parody: Of late-fifties/early-sixties teen movie musicals. The standard ending of those movies, where the "bad boy" redeems himself for his wholesome girlfriend, is turned on its head when Sandy becomes a greaser chick instead.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Danny and Kenickie are pretty popular. Averted with Sandy; Danny's "bad boy" image annoys her, and she prefers him as the sweet boy he was when they first met at the beach and he didn't feel the need to play it cool.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders:
    • Subverted. When Danny is confronted with Sandy in her cheerleader costume in front of his friends, he's embarrassed.
    • Played with in the original Chicago musical. Danny dates Patty Simcox, but it's only in an attempt to get Sandy jealous at him. He later blows Patty off for Sandy, after the latter receives her makeover.
  • Alliterative Name: Marty Maraschino.
  • Alpha Bitch: Rizzo, with the Pink Ladies as her Girl Posse, except for Frenchy, who still befriends Sandy even as Rizzo makes fun of her. Also a subversion, since Rizzo's not the typical cheerleader but a sexy and straightforward "bad girl".
  • Ascended Extra: Cha-Cha DiGregorio is simply a dancer invited to the school hop in the musical, and has no previous connection to Danny. Her role was expanded quite a bit in the film.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Kenickie drives up to Frenchy's house after the "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" number, Danny decides to change his mind and leave. Sonny asks him, "What do you mean?" Danny lampshades the idiocy of the question by snapping back, "What do you mean, what do I mean?" He later has the same reaction to Sonny's question about how he knows if the gang will stay together, preceding "We Go Together".
  • Auto Erotica:
    • About as literal as you can get. The song "Greased Lightnin'" is about fixing up a car so they can get women.
    • The scene before it in the film (not in the musical) shows Kenickie and Rizzo interrupted while trying to have sex in the back of his car.
    • Later, Danny makes a move on Sandy while they're at a drive-in movie theater, but she angrily leaves, calling his car a "sin wagon".
    • And if you missed the subtlety of what he's singing because John Travolta's performance is so convincingly sad (including when he's essentially howling at the moon), there's a handy reminder in the background in the form of the commercial showing a hotdog repeatedly jumping into an open bun.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: In the musical, Roger and Jan share a cute, playful duet shortly after insulting each other.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Hopelessly Devoted to You". It was nominated for an Academy Award, but didn't win.
  • Bad Girl Song: Played with and subverted in "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" for Rizzo. Part of the song is about how she refuses to be a good girl and save herself for a perfect man who doesn't exist, but the other part is about how she refuses to lead guys on, lie to anyone, or genuinely hurt them, ending it by admitting that she has feelings too - and she'll be damned if she ever shows it.
  • Beach Kiss: Danny and Sandy homage this with two kisses while they're at the beach with the sun setting behind them.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Sandy is the Trope Codifier. After spending the movie trying to win Danny over, she succeeds at the end, after she turns herself into a "bad girl".
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rizzo and Kenickie, who double as Beta Couple. They spend the middle of the plot broken up and trying to make each other jealous, but finally get back together after Rizzo's Pregnancy Scare is resolved.
  • Big Eater: Jan, who's also Hollywood Pudgy. In the stage version, her love interest Roger is too.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Patty Simcox, who is introduced as a bright, peppy cheerleader who wants Sandy on the cheer squad and somewhat of a Butt-Monkey to the Pink Ladies, and who later out of nowhere loudly gossips about Rizzo's pregnancy right in front of her. Downplayed in the FOX version, where she is clearly set up as a neurotic, passive-aggressive Stepford Smiler and is more obviously catty.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Marty, Jan, and Frenchy are respectively cast this way most of the time: Marty the blonde, Jan the brunette, and Frenchy the redhead. Rizzo is also usually a brunette (since she's Italian) and Sandy is usually blonde, though in the original Broadway production she had auburn hair.
  • Boy Meets Girl: "Summer heat, boy and girl meet..."
  • Brutal Honesty: Since she considers lying to be beneath her, Rizzo has a habit of talking like this.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Averted: Kenickie's condom broke. He and Rizzo do it anyway, leading to the pregnancy scare.
  • Canon Foreigner: Tom Chisum only exists in the film and TV special, as do Blanche, Couch Calhoun, Vi, Leo, and Mrs. Murdock.
  • Changing Yourself for Love: In addition to Sandy becoming "bad" to impress Danny, Danny himself tried to win her over by getting involved in sports after she expressed interest in a jock, despite that he and the other T-Birds were making fun of the jocks earlier in the film.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Danny trying out for sports, and finding success with track. He does this early on to impress Sandy, and it works. At the end of the year, he reveals that his skill at track ensures his own graduation.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Frenchy's "talents" at beauty school later come back at the end when Sandy ditches her old image and has a makeover to impress Danny.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Putzie/Roger, who is ever-so charming to his beloved Jan despite his allurement to mooning. Lampshaded by his nickname ("Putz"/"Rump"). While the other T-Birds show an expression of shock or surprise at Sandy's wardrobe change, he is the only one who grins!
  • Curtain Call: One of the few Broadway musicals to have one both on stage and on TV.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Scorpions' car is black with flames (painted on and shooting out of the exhausts) and most of the Scorpions dress in black.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Danny tends to dress in black a lot, namely his black T-Birds jacket and trousers, but is a good guy once his Hidden Heart of Gold shows. This could be said for the other T-Birds, and also Rizzo.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rizzo is sarcastic. All the time.
  • Dirty Old Man: While he wasn't "old" in terms of the accepted definition of the word, Vince Fontaine fits this trope. He talks up Marty at the school dance, tries to slip aspirin into her Coke, and in the film, he hand jives with Sandy for so long that Danny has to tell him to get lost.
  • Distant Duet: “Summer Nights”, where both Danny and Sandy are singing separately to their friends.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: When Rizzo has her Pregnancy Scare and her friends try to offer her support, she brushes them all off. In the stage version, she gets especially angry when Sandy tries to show her sympathy, and sings "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" as a rejection of her pity before storming off. The movie tones this down, though: despite still insisting that she doesn't need help, she thanks Sandy for her support, and then sings "There Are Worse Things" alone.
  • Doo-Wop Progression: Well, of course, the score is one great big homage to 1950s rock-and-roll, so, of course, this progression turns up in songs like "Mooning", "We Go Together", "Beauty School Dropout", and "It's Raining on Prom Night." And to top it all off, "Those Magic Changes" introduces it with a great big fat lampshade attached - the song's Broadway lyrics sing the doo-wop chords that play through most 1950s songs:
    A-A-A-A minor,
    G-G-G-G seventh,

    A-A-A-A minor,
    G-G-G-G seventh... "etc."
  • Double Entendre:
    • A surprisingly clever one in "bite the weenie, Riz!" "with relish!"
    • Also when Marty is flirting with Vince Fontaine during the prom, he asks for her name and she responds, "Maraschino... Y'know, like in cherry?"
  • Drive-In Theater: Popular in the '50s, so of course it's here too. Danny takes Sandy on a date there, and at first it goes well, but then he tries to engage in some Auto Erotica, causing Sandy to dump him and run away.
  • Ear-Piercing Plot: In the slumber party scene, the prospective but bumbling beautician Frenchy offers to pierce Sandy's ears. It doesn't go over so well.
  • Embarrassing First Name: As Miss Lynch likes to point out in the play, Sonny's real name is Dominic. As she points out for Johnny Casino, his is Clarence.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: For Putzie/Roger, "Putz"/"Rump". Partially averted in that he does not seem to particularly mind.
  • Ethical Slut: Rizzo. She explains her views in the song "There Are Worse Things I Could Do":
    I could flirt with all the guys,
    Smile at them and bat my eyes.
    Press against them when we dance,
    Make them think they stand a chance,
    Then refuse to see it through.
    That's a thing I'd never do.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Rizzo mocks a few people, especially Sandy (essentially the point of "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee"), but in "There Are Worse Things I Could Do", she sings that stealing and lying are beneath her.
  • Extracurricular Enthusiast: Patty Simcox, overly-enthusiastic goody-two-shoes cheerleader, nominated for student council, helps set up for the prom, and gossips her way through the whole movie/play.
  • '50s Hair: With the exception of Olivia Newton-John's anachronistic '70s feathered 'do during her bad girl makeover, the hairstyles are as '50s as it gets.
  • The '50s: It's basically a giant nostalgic love letter to the time.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: At the end of "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee," Rizzo uses the Italian curse word "fangool," a corruption/regional pronunciation of "vaffanculo," (literally "go do it in the ass," but used idiomatically to mean "fuck off" or similar). However, as at least one TV print chops the offending line entirely.
  • Food Slap: Rizzo throws a milkshake at Kenickie when they have an argument in a diner. She gets some on Frenchy to, for which she apologizes.
  • Forever Fling: Zig-Zagged. Danny and Sandy met on vacation and spent the previous summer together, thinking they'd never see each other again... only to discover they now go to the same high school! Initially subverted, since Greaser Delinquent Danny doesn't want to admit he still has feelings for Innocent Soprano Sandy in front of his friends, breaking Sandy's heart. The two struggle with a Will They or Won't They? throughout the play, with Danny trying to become a Lovable Jock for Sandy until Sandy decides to ditch her good girl image and get a Tomboyness Upgrade (by '50s standards, at least) for him.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: The four original Pink Ladies. Frenchy is the sweet naive one, Marty is the sexy flirt, Rizzo is the admirable wild card (down to a T, actually), and Jan, the silly tomboyish girl.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When we first see Kenickie, he tells the other T-Birds he was working all summer so he could afford to buy a car. A car he intends to race at Thunder Road, which we find out later at the cheerleader tryouts, and which happens at the end.
    • After "Summer Nights", when Sandy mentions it was Danny Zuko she met at the beach, Rizzo remarks how her Prince Charming could show up again. She later arranges to surprise Sandy by reuniting her with Danny, as she knows full well that Danny is also attending Rydell.
    • At the cheerleader tryouts, Tom and Sandy make eye contact and flirty gestures towards each other. Sandy later tries hanging around with him to make Danny jealous and prove his feelings for her are real.
    • It's mentioned early on that someone needs to take care of the Scorpions. This happens at Thunder Road when Balmudo loses the race and Danny wins.
    • Danny tells Sandy he could run circles around the jocks, meaning the one Sandy is trying to make Danny jealous with. He turns out to be right, as he finds success at track, unlike the other sports he tries out for.
    • "If it ran any better, it'd be flying." What happens right at the end?
  • Friendship Song: The gang responds to the prospect of not seeing each other after graduation by singing “We Go Together.”
  • Gainax Ending: When all the Rydell students bid farewells with promises that they'll stay in touch, somehow Danny and Sandy's car lifts off the ground and flies off into the sky. It's so bizarre and out of touch for a 50's musical that many fans regard it as a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • Gay Moment: Danny and Kenickie accidentally hugging due to being overwhelmed with joy.
  • Get Out!: When Rizzo leaves the sleepover at Frenchy's and climbs into the car with Kenickie, he tells the others to get out, leaving them standing in the middle of the street. They decide to go off and get some pizza.
  • Greaser Delinquents: Danny and the T-Birds. It's even alluded to in the title.
  • Groin Attack: Well, maybe not an intentional attack, but Sandy does slam a car door into Danny's hard-on after his abortive attempt at seduction.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Danny, who tries maintaining his bad boy image in front of the other T-Birds when he and Sandy meet again, because he doesn't want to be embarrassed. Sandy is less than pleased.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song:
    • "Sandra Dee" is a lighter version of this, where Rizzo is spending the time mocking Sandy's "good girl" nature.
    • "Beauty School Dropout" is about how much Frenchy sucks at beauty school.
  • Hidden Depths: Danny turns out to be pretty darn good at track.
  • Insult Backfire: There's this:
    Danny: Oh, bite the weenie, Riz.
    Rizzo: With relish. [flashes eyebrows]
  • Invisible Parents: In the 1978 film at least, we hear Frenchy say her parents would flip out if the T-Birds came inside the house, and Sandy says her father wouldn't like it if she got her ears pierced. That's the closest we come to seeing any of these kids' parents.
  • "I Want" Song: In the play and TV special (more so than the movie), literally every song serves the purpose of giving the audience insight into a character's (or group of character's) personality. Very few of the songs actually move the plot along in any way.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Danny. He puts on a bad boy persona as a member of the T-Birds and sometimes even talks down to Sandy, but he's also a nice guy who's willing to be a gentleman (Sandy even calls him one after their time at the beach) and change for Sandy. The nice guy part was what attracted Sandy to him in the first place, as she's annoyed with Danny's jerk tendencies.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: Rizzo and Kenickie. They make up at the end.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: "She was good, you know what I mean..."
  • Last-Name Basis:
    • Betty Rizzo is usually called "Rizzo" or "Riz". When she's making out with Kenickie in his car, she asks him to call her by her first name, but has to tell him what it is. Can also be considered a case of Only Known by Their Nickname.
    • Kenickie too; his first name is never mentioned.
  • Light Is Good:
    • The Teen Angel in "Beauty School Dropout", who encourages Frenchy to go back to Rydell, is clad entirely in white.
    • Greased Lightnin' is white too, with silver lightning bolts painted on it, and it also has whitewall tyres.
  • Meaningful Name: Sandy. Danny meets her at the beach.
  • Minor Character, Major Song: “Beauty School Dropout" is sung by Frankie Avalon in his only role in the movie, but it's what makes Frenchy go back to high-school.
  • Mooning: Putzie/Roger's favorite pastime. Made explicit in the play in a duet where he serenades Jan with a song about mooning. Alluded to in the film as he is the only T-Bird who SHAKES his rear on national television (this is acknowledged by an amused waitress who watches this from the television at the greasers' hangout restaurant).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Danny after his initial reunion with Sandy goes wrong. After she runs off in tears, he sees Rizzo grinning at him and he is promptly ashamed of himself. He attempts to apologise to her later, but she doesn't buy it until later on.
  • My Hair Came Out Green: Actually, bubble-gum pink, when Frenchy flunks tint.
  • New Transfer Student: Sandy. In the film, she comes from Australia. Her original home is not stated in the Broadway production, but she was meant to be from Joliet, Illinois in the original script.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: A fondly nostalgic portrayal of The '50s, bordering on Rose-Tinted Narrative. The era is depicted as some sort of teenage paradise, where the worst that can happen to you is being compared to Sandra Dee, or having a very brief Pregnancy Scare that turns out to be a false alarm.
  • Odd Name Out: In both the play and the movie, Jan is this to the other Pink Ladies, who are named Sandy, Betty (Rizzo), Frenchy, and Marty.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Sandy at the sleepover when Frenchy tells her she doesn't want to get blood on the carpet when she pierces Sandy's ears. Frenchy attempts to reassure her that it only bleeds for a second.
    • Frenchy when the T-Birds pull up in Kenickie's car during her sleepover, saying they can't come inside because her parents would flip out. Thankfully for her, they don't.
  • Operation: Jealousy:
    • Sandy finds herself a convenient jock to date, after Danny rejects her.
    • Kenickie and Rizzo also pull this one on each other at the dance, as Kenickie goes with Cha Cha, and Rizzo goes with Balmudo. Kenickie gets his own back by asking for Balmudo and Rizzo to be thrown out.
    • There's a reversal of Danny and Sandy's situation in the '71 musical: Danny has Patty Simcox be his "girlfriend" so he can make Sandy jealous. Unfortunately for Patty, she doesn't know she's being used.
  • Pink Heroine: Averted. Rizzo won't allow Sandy into the Pink Ladies because she considers Sandy "too pure to be pink."
  • Pink Means Feminine: The Pink Ladies, of course, who sport pink jackets to show it.
  • Power Trio: Greaser boys Doody, Sonny, and Putzie/Roger invoke this. The same can be said for their counterpart greaser girls Frenchy, Marty, and Jan.
  • Pregnancy Scare: Rizzo and Kenickie's pregnancy scare is a major subplot.
  • Really Gets Around: Marty. She has a long list of boyfriends and somehow manages to keep up with all of them.
  • Right Behind Me: Musical version of the trope, as Sandy comes in as Rizzo finishes up "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee", a song that ribs Sandy for being pure and chaste.
    Sandy: You're making fun of me, Rizz?
    Rizzo: [removes blonde wig] Some people are so touchy!
  • Sequel Hook: According to Didi Conn in a May 2018 interview, the references to "see you in summer school" at the end of the film were intended to connect to a direct sequel featuring the original cast, which was never made.
  • Sexy Figure Gesture: Used by Danny Zuko during the "Summer Nights" number, as he sings the line "We made out under the dock".
    • In the 1978 film, he makes the hourglass gesture and follows it with a Pelvic Thrust.
    • In the 2016 TV version, he extends the hourglass gesture so that it has two "waists"...for some reason. No pelvic thrust.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Rizzo asks Kenickie "What's up?" when she meets him outside Frenchy's house. He replies, "One guess."
  • Slut-Shaming: Played straight in a brief scene in the film, where Rizzo overhears Patty Simcox gossiping about her with other girls after word of her assumed pregnancy gets out; this scene leads into "There are worse things I could do" directed at a now-absent Patty (and, in the end of the song, Kenickie) after Sandy offers support to Rizzo.
  • That Nostalgia Show: To the '50s, made in the late '70s.
  • Tempting Fate: Frenchy tells Sandy that "beauty is pain" when she attempts to pierce Sandy's ears. Immediately after she says that, we hear Sandy scream and Frenchy opens the bathroom door to ask for ice to numb Sandy's earlobes. Marty tells her to let the tap run and stick Sandy's ear under the cold water.
  • Summer School Sucks: In the movie, some of the T-Birds are inclined to throw a pie at the coach (in a carnival game) for telling them they can make up their failing PE grade in summer school.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: Principal McGee wishes the graduating seniors success in their future, such as being "the next Vice-President Nixon."
  • Those Two Guys: Of the T-Birds/Burger Palace Boys who aren't Danny and Kenickie, Doody and Putzie/Roger seem to be best friends with each other. The two even sing a duet in the play! Appropriately, they're actually both based on one real person – lyricist/librettist Jim Jacobs based them both on different sides of his own teenage self.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sandy, at the end, when she dresses like a biker chick and ditches her sweet innocence for a tough and seductive attitude.
  • Three Faces of Eve: Sandy is the devoted Wife, Rizzo is the Seductress, Frenchy is the Child.
  • Troubled, but Cute: The T-Birds. Especially Kenickie, who's generally a jerkass but who doesn't hesitate to take responsibility and try to do what he considers the right thing when he thinks he's gotten his girlfriend Rizzo pregnant.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Rizzo reveals to Marty she might be pregnant.
    Rizzo: I feel like a defective typewriter.
    Marty: Huh?
    Rizzo: I skipped a period.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Played with. "Summer Nights" is sung by both Danny and Sandy telling of their summer romance. While it is clear Danny is exaggerating (and even lying) to his friends, one could argue that Sandy's version is a more idealized version as well, though hers is probably closer to the truth.
  • Virgin-Shaming: Female example. Rizzo does this to Sandy in the "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" number, while Sandy is in the bathroom. Sandy emerges at the end and realises Rizzo is mocking her.
    Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee
    Lousy with virginity
    Won't go to bed 'til I'm legally wed
    I can't; I'm Sandra Dee.
  • Yawn and Reach: Danny does this with Sandy. When he attempts to touch something more than just her shoulder it backfires.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After Danny's behaviour sends Sandy running away in tears, he catches a glimpse of Rizzo's face. She has a pleased grin on her face, and this seems to disconcert him even more than Sandy's unhappiness.

    Exclusive to the 1971 Play 

  • Abridged for Children: The "School Version" omits any swearing and references to cigarettes and alcohol. The song There Are Worse Things I Could Do is cut entirely.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The 2011 ''Original Grease'' production combined drafts of the Kingston Mines version with those from the Broadway revisions, expanding the total amount of songs from about 19 to 29 (while "Rydell Fight Song" and "Shakin' at the High School Hop" were included in the Broadway staging, they are unlisted due to being left off of the cast album).
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the 2011 staging of The Original Grease, a middle-aged Patty Simcox reveals (in a Time Skip epilogue) that some of the characters (Danny, Sandy, Rizzo, Sonny, and Miller) have long been deceased.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The Broadway musical was gradually cleaned up over the years to remove most of the profanity and sexually suggestive lyrics. Although the Broadway version itself was also a case of this, as Jacobs and Casey's original script included the kids using even more "f-bombs" and calling each other ethnic slurs (ie: "wop", "polack"). Any references to Chicago (or Illinois in general) were also cut or changed, as it was felt that the musical would be more successful if it didn't take place in a specific area.
    • Due to Grease's popularity with younger crowds, a "kid-safe" version of the musical script exists for schools to perform. It's even more toned down than the modern versions used for Broadway, and is shortened to about an hour. Besides cutting songs down for language and timing purposes, Rizzo's pregnancy-scare is also eliminated.
  • Class Reunion: The show starts with a reunion of Rydell High's graduating class of 1959, which shows some of the characters as adults, and then flashes back to the '50s for the main plot. In the original script, it's the 10th anniversary reunion, with the former teen characters now in their late 20s. In the 2011 production of The Original Grease, however, it was updated to the 50th anniversary, with the characters now in their 60s, and with some of them, including, Danny, Sandy and Rizzo, having passed away.
  • Forgotten Framing Device: In most versions of the show, the reunion doesn't appear again at the end. It does come back in a new epilogue added to the 2011 Original Grease production, however.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • The Kingston Mines version is said by the creators to have been grittier, more profane, and less colorful. The Broadway run increasingly softened dialogue and made the costumes more mainstream '50s attire (such as giving Sandy a poodle skirt), while the movie played things even campier. One example that Jim Jacobs cited was that the Pink Ladies' jackets went from being black to literally being pink, due to the movie's influence.
    • The later London productions (which started in 1993) are also much more toned down, the costumes were made more colorful, and the directors re-arranged the order and orchestration of some songs to fall in line with the film (such as "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" being performed at the sleepover instead of towards the end of Act I). Frenchy is even given pink hair throughout the entire play, as an homage to her dye job accident in the film.
  • Odd Name Out: In the play, Roger is this to the other greaser boys, who are named Danny, Kenickie, Doody, and Sonny (in the movie, Roger's name is changed to "Putzie", perhaps to subvert this). It makes sense that Roger and Jan are a couple!
  • Original Cast Precedent:
    • Johnny Casino and the Teen Angel tend to be played by the same actor in most stage productions, since that's how they were cast in the original Broadway show (though they were played by separate people in the Kingston Mines production).
    • Marty will almost always be a blonde, Frenchy a redhead, and Rizzo and Jan will have dark hair.
    • The Burger Palace Boys will all almost always have dark hair, though sometimes a lighter-haired actor will be cast as one (as with Jeff Conaway as Kenickie).
    • Averted with Sandy, who had auburn hair in the original Broadway cast, but otherwise has almost always been cast as blonde like Olivia Newton-John in the movie (and like Sandra Dee).
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The original stage play is presented as a high school reunion, remembering things that happened back in 1959.

    Exclusive to the 2016 Live TV Special 
  • Adaptation Expansion: To make the script for the 2016 live show, the script for the film was expanded with parts of the original stage play that did not make it into the film. This resulted in more dialogue and scenes for the secondary T-Birds and Pink Ladies, among other additions. Examples not taken from the play include:
    • Marty is the one responsible for convincing the National Band Stand to film their show at Rydell High. She also gets to sing her song.
    • Much like how the film added in scenes where we see Danny tryout for track, the live show added in scenes where we see Sandy tryout for cheerleading. Sandy is also given a backstory of having overprotective parents who do not even let her go to school dances, much to her chagrin. As a result, her change into the iconic skintight getup at the end of the show feels more like something she did for herself, not her friends.
    • In contrast to Sandy, Danny mentions that he envies Sandy's parents for caring about her, while his do not.
    • Eugene is given a passion for rocket science, and a calm demeanor to go with it. His knowledge is used to boost the speed of the T-Birds' car, allowing Danny to win his race against the Scorpions.
    • Patty Simcox is given extra dialogue to establish that she is extremely competitive.
    • Tom Chisum is given a line of dialogue instead of having no dialogue whatsoever. His dialogue happens when he introduces himself to Sandy, something we do not see in the movie.
    • Frenchy (played by Carly Rae Jepsen) gets a song of her own right before "Beauty School Dropout", called "All I Need is an Angel".
    • The TV version also finally states a theme throughout the movie, which is "What's the point of living if you don't take a few chances?"
  • Adaptation Name Change: Sandy is hit by this again; her last name goes from Dumbrowski (in the play), to Olsen (in the film) to Young (here).
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • The T-Birds gained more redeeming qualities in this version, especially Danny. Examples include being more kind and respectful to the Pink Ladies, and finally repaying Eugene for helping them win the race by welcoming him to their gang.
    • Rizzo, in the original play and 1978, zips from being a Jerkass to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold like a pinball. In this version, she is more established as the latter, as she is shown to be a bit nicer to Sandy, even talking to her about changing after the climatic race. She even asks Kenickie to be careful before his race, despite their earlier fight.
  • Audience Participation: The theater-in-the-round setup posits the audience as various kinds of crowds around the characters. The downside is that they were clearly instructed to not give any kind of reactions outside the musical numbers, which kills a lot of the jokes. You could also tell the difference between extras in the crowd and audience members simply by looking at their clothing; a lot of the studio audience wore modern-day clothing.
  • Bowdlerize: Thanks to starting at 7 PM, there's quite a bit of it in "Greased Lightning," a song notorious for its filthy lyrics that fly by so fast many people don't catch them on their first listen.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Jessie J's opening number blows it apart with dynamite, as she takes the viewers on a backstage tour, to dressing rooms (in one of these, Hudgens recorded this video that she immediately uploaded to Instagram), through a trailer that had sketches of the various sets being used all over the walls (Carlos PenaVega, who played Kenickie, also recorded an Instagram video as Jessie J passed through), and around the set on the Warner Bros. lot while singing the opening song. As she walks on to a platform in front of the school entrance to finish the film, a crew member can be seen in the background, collecting umbrellas from cast members. Later, "We Go Together" starts with the cast singing the song to the Steadicam as they make their way to the studio lot carts. During the "Born to Hand Jive" reprise that closed the show, Mario Lopez can be seen within the group with his phone out, making a video.
  • Colorblind Casting: A good chunk of the cast (including extras) are now played by actors of color. Specifically, Rizzo, Marty, Doody, Kenickie, Putzie, Blanche, Calhoun, Teen Angel (now split into three, as portrayed by Boyz II Men), Cha-Cha, and Vince Fontaine.
  • Dark Reprise: Danny and Sandy have a brief one of "Summer Nights" after they first confront eachother at school.
  • Fantasy Sequence: Marty imagines singing "Freddy My Love" as The Chanteuse in a USO show, with all of the Pink Ladies dressed as Glamorous Wartime Singers.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
    • Doody, in-comparison to the film version, where he was given a lot less attention and not a guitar player. In this adaptation, as Doody plays "Those Magic Changes" on his guitar, a gymnasium audience full of ladies swoon in the background.
    • There's also the addition of female dancers in skintight outfits during "Greased Lightnin'".
  • Instant Costume Change: Several.
    • During the "Freddy My Love" number, Marty removes her nightgown, revealing a red sequined dress underneath. As the song ends, she puts her nightgown back on over said dress.
    • All of the Greasers (with the exception of Danny) change into purple sequined jumpsuits during "Greased Lightning" and change back into their mechanic uniforms at the end of the number. Kenickie's car even gets a quick change during the number.
    • "Those Magic Changes" is aptly named; Danny and Doody both go through several costume changes while the other is on screen.
  • It Will Never Catch On: In a clear nod to modern-day home media, Frenchy wishes that she and Doody could watch movies at home whenever they wanted. Doody replies to her, "We'll probably get to the Moon first."note 
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Twice in the same scene!
    Blanche: A live broadcast? How exciting! But what if something goes wrong?
    Principal McGee: Let's just hope it doesn't rain! note 
    • Later, there's a line ostensibly about the upcoming National Band Stand filming, about how TV networks will try any weird gimmick to get people to watch.
  • No Smoking: All smoking is eliminated from the Live version. It's only mentioned once where Rizzo rightly presumes Sandy doesn't smoke, but no one else is shown with cigarettes either. Frenchy mentions her homeroom teacher, who apparently 'mostly just sits in the corner and smokes,' but he isn't seen.
  • The Oner:
    • The shot used for Jessie J's opening number. After the song concludes, it continues for about another minute after the Pink Ladies and T-Birds walk into the school.
    • Also, when Danny is trying out for different sports in the school gym, the Steadicam alternates between focusing on him, and Doody singing "Those Magic Changes".
  • Papa Wolf: When Rizzo is discovered to be pregnant, Kenickie constantly states that he'll be there and do anything for his unborn child, and cannot bring himself to drive in the Thunder Road because he doesn't want his child to grow up fatherless if everything goes wrong.
  • Product Placement: Coca-Cola sponsored this production, replacing Pepsi, who had visible logos in the film.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Eugene for Patty Simcox; the latter ended up with Tom Chisum in the film.
  • Recursive Canon: The original poster for the 1978 movie appears on a wall during the opening number.
  • Remake Cameo:
    • Didi Conn, the film's Frenchy, as Vi. It's particularly touching during the one-on-one conversation she has with the new Frenchy.
    • Barry Pearl, who played Doody in the movie version plays the producer of National Bandstand.
  • Smoking Is Edgy: Many adult productions show that the Greasers and Pink Ladies all smoke. Sandy, the Girl Next Door, doesn't take well to her first smoke at the sleepover, showing she isn't edgy and doesn't fit in with the Pink Ladies. However, she appears in the final scene as a full-out Pink Lady, with many productions showing her comfortably with a cigarette as well. Mostly averted with the 2016 Live TV Special, except for one reference to Rizzo not being surprised that Sandy has never smoked.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Eugene has a passion for rocket science, and uses this knowledge by voluntarily revving up the T-Birds car engine so that they can win their race against the Scorpions. For leading the T-Birds to victory in their race, Danny gives his T-Bird jacket to Eugene and welcomes him into the group. By the end of the show, Eugene is asked by Patty Simcox (the head cheerleader) to "see his rocket", and they suggestively and quickly head over to the back of the gymnasium.
    • Sandy acts more rebellious even before her makeover, in order to avoid lots of implications that the film is infamous for. She leaves Danny at the prom not because Sonny pushed her away, but because she was afraid her parents would see her on TV. She told her parents that she was studying, since they never allow her to go to dances. When Sandy and Danny make-up at the movies, Sandy admits that she has always wanted to be free from her parents' control. With this backstory in-mind, Sandy's decision to take on a "bad girl" appearance at the end of the show is clearly not due to the pressure from her friends to fit in, but instead due to Sandy's newfound confidence to be who she has always felt like she was on the inside, not who her parents (or friends, for that matter) want her to be. This is emphasized by Sandy's discussion with Rizzo right before the makeover, where Rizzo makes sure that this is something Sandy wants to do before they go through with it. Pre-made-over Sandy also has enough nerve to confront Patty Simcox after witnessing Patty spreading negative gossip about Rizzo.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The entire cast. Examples include:
    • Right before his dangerous race with the Scorpions, Kenickie refuses to drive, stating that Rizzo's baby will need him around to take care of him as a father. Even in the graduation carnival, Kenickie tells Rizzo that he does not care if Rizzo's baby has a different biological father: he still wants to be there for her to raise the child. Kenickie also does not lift up Patty Simcox's skirt at prom. Instead, Eugene accidentally rips it off after both of them drink spiked punch.
    • The T-Birds are a lot nicer to Eugene, to the point that Danny gives his T-Bird jacket to him, letting Eugene in the group. It helps that Eugene volunteers to rev up their car engine so that it drives faster during the climatic race. The T-Birds do not toss a pie at Eugene's face, unlike in the movie, where they do.
    • Shortly before singing "Summer Nights", the T-Birds do not make fun of Tom Chisum for being a jock. Instead, they express frustration at him for being a legitimately bad football player.
    • Putzie does not call Jan fat when he asks her out to prom, instead calling her weird. He also buys sweets for her more often, and they end the show licking a snow cone together.
    • Doody's teasing of Frenchy is a lot less one-sided than it was in the movie. For instance, when he dances with her, he initially refuses to vary his dancing (like in the movie) until she tells him to "pluck her like his guitar", which gets a smile from him and leads to his declaration that he is having a great night with her.
    • Sonny is a lot nicer to Marty, even showing her the gift he brought her at prom night, and comforting her at graduation when she expresses sadness at being alone.
    • In the film version, Sandy talks to Frenchy about changing herself after the race. In the TV version, it is Rizzo that Sandy talks to. It helps that Rizzo is nicer to Sandy, to the point where she says that she knows a trick or two that can help Sandy change, when Sandy asks Rizzo for help.