Grease Is the Word’: Exploring a Cultural Phenomenon
With its catalogue of hit songs, iconic characters, memorable quotes and familiar scenes, ‘Grease’ is truly a behemoth of US and global popular culture. From the stage show’s debut in 1971, to the Hollywood film of 1978, to the numerous rereleases and anniversary celebrations of the twenty-first century, it has enjoyed, and continues to enjoy, success across a range of media. ‘Grease’’s extended run on Broadway through the 1970s ensured it a prominent place within broader debates on the musical, 1950s nostalgia and American youth. Numerous stage revivals have followed, with theatres across the world revisiting Rydell High in front of sell-out audiences. Hollywood has time and again sought to recreate ‘Grease’ the movie’s phenomenal box-office success with a procession of similarly themed rock and roll youth musicals (‘Footloose’, ‘Dirty Dancing’, the ‘High School Musical’ franchise, to name a few). However, even as these productions enjoy their own renown, in terms of sheer longevity, prominence and popularity, ‘Grease’ was, is and will remain ‘the word’ when it comes to musical blockbusters.