Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flashback: Remember Grease?

Save for the film Grease, it seemed fated that I would shy away from all musicals. Though Grease is set in the 1950s, a number of its musical numbers and dance movements are stylized after disco which exploded on the scene in the 1970s. Grease was and still is a enticing opening into an era that I could only ask my parents and grandparents about. And while the film was very much dated by the time I had seen it, not a lot had changed in terms of being in high school. Weren’t we all doing the same things? Doing what youths do: coming-of-age, being concerned with all things sexy, working it out on the dance floor?

Yet still, even after the cultural meltdown of the 1970s and 1980s, there are leftovers: like how so many of us youngsters sported the coveted black leather jacket to show just how “cool” we are (An aside: Michael Jackson also contributed to the “coolness” of the leather jacket.)

Grease, both the musical and film, has made an indelible imprint on our cultural narrative. It’s one of the longest running shows in Broadway history, racking up 3,388 performances before closing in 1980 and two years before becoming a hit film in 1978, starring the John Travolta and the gorgeous Australian recording artist Olivia Newton-John who made her American film debut with Grease which grossed $96,300,000, making it the top film at the box office in 1978.

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