"Grease" Is Dirtier Than You Think

The gritty, original version of the feel good play makes a comeback

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Paramount
    Don't pretend you don't know the lyrics to 'Grease.'

    “Grease” is a wistful teenage musical comedy that countless American youngsters have watched and memorized over the years.

    Who could forget tunes like "Summer Nights" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You."

    But it’s a little known fact that the “Grease” audiences have come to know and love is a cleaned up version of the original Chicago production -- and those two song's never existed in the orignal show that played at the Kinsgston Mines Theater, the Chicago Tribune reports.

    Now, Chicagoan Jim Jacobs – one of the co-writers of the original stage version – is teaming up with Chicago’s American Theatre Company to bring it back in all it’s gritty, greasy R-Rated glory, reports the Sun-Times, and "Summer Nights" reverts back to "Foster Beach" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You," returns to "Kiss It."

    “To go back in and take the risk of doing a new version is really daring for Jim,” American Theatre artistic director PJ Paparelli said to the Sun-Times.  “We’re going back to the original intention of being gritty and working class. We’re taking it back to it’s roots.”

    According to Jacobs, those roots are imbedded in working-class struggles and the relationships between kids who didn’t quite belong.  There won’t be any palm trees or beaches in this version.  Instead the main backdrop will be more like Chicago's real-life Taft High School – the school where the play was originally set.

    This is not “the Fun-with-Dick & Jane’ version in most productions today,” Jacobs said in a statement, “but the real low-down, in-your-face version - - in other words, the truth, the way things really were among all those high school outcasts back in 1959.”

    There will be some pretty significant character changes too.  Beloved Sandy, the naïve girl from Australia who falls in love with the guy from the wrong side of the tracks is replaced by Sandy from Joliet.  This Sandy comes from a working-class family who just moved to the city. 

    Die-hard fans wont be able to sing along to the catchy songs they’ve come to love but they will get a newer perespective on the beloved show.

    “The current ‘Grease’ is a wonderful thing,” Paparelli said. “Ours wont be better or worse, just different.”

    This hard-core version debuts in Chicago in April at the American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron.