Grease: the musical you can’t miss this Christmas

Student gangs, high school dances, first love, convertibles, proms, and lots of rock & roll. Hamburgers and drive-ins also appear on the landscape and are yet another example of the cultural and consumer revolution that the United States is experiencing. We are at the end of the 50’s at the Rydell Institute and the adventures of some of its students are the backbone of Grease, one of the greatest musical successes of all time and an absolute phenomenon of pop culture.

Coinciding with the fifty years since its original premiere in Chicago (1971), the Nuevo Teatro Alcalá in Madrid hosts Grease, the musical. Special 50 Anniversary, a new super production of this classic, which can be seen in the big city and which becomes one of the essential plans of the Christmas cultural agenda. A musical that, especially at this time, can be enjoyed with friends or family, since its history and songs have managed to penetrate different generations.

A successful team and cast

This new assembly, which presents an ambitious and innovative staging, has been adapted and directed by David Serrano and has the musical direction of Joan Miquel Pérez and the choreographies of Toni Espinosa, a creative team that was already in charge of the musical Billy Elliot, another hit from SOM Produce. In the title roles, Lucia Peman plays Sandy Olsson, an innocent Australian newcomer to Rydell; while Quique González, gums his hair to become the tough Danny Zuko.

They are accompanied by their inseparable gang friends: the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies. With a leather jacket, a cocky attitude and a lot of gel, Kenickie (Jan Buxaderas), Doody (Lucas Miramón), Sonny (Samuel Gómez) and Putzie (Pau Gimeno) look. In their pink jackets are Rizzo (Isabel Pera), the sassy leader of the gang; the loyal Frenchy (Sònia Vallverdu); the attractive Marty (Elisa Hipólito); and the young and inexperienced Jan (Paula Domínguez). Not forgetting other important characters such as Vince Fontaine, Cha Cha DiGregorio and Patty Simcox.

This new montage has been adapted and directed by David Serrano, who presents an ambitious and innovative staging

Grease

Other interpreters such as Pablo Bravo, Miguel Millán, Álvaro Sanchís, Mia Lardner, Ana de Alva, and Celia García alternate in these roles and are part of the cast of this great production, which has more than thirty young actors and dancers, with extensive artistic training. Actors who take over from big names in show business, such as Richard Gere, Patrick Swayze, Brooke Shields or Rosie O’Donell, who throughout these fifty years have been part of the Grease family.

How a musical myth is born

A musical of indisputable success that arose after having had a few beers, which is how, sometimes, the best ideas appear. That’s how journalist Jim Jacobs and teacher and disc jockey Warren Casey began to fantasize about a musical about the golden days of rock and roll. Fate made Casey lose her job and set out to write the libretto. It would be called Grease and it would pay homage to the rockabilly and the greaser youth subculture of the 50s, which they both had lived through.

It was 1971 and the dialogue and some songs of Grease were being heard for the first time, with the voices of a cast of amateur actors, in a Chicago theater that did not have seats. Seated on the ground above newspapers, viewers immediately felt the energy that the show conveyed, which also captivated Ken Waissman and Maxine Fox, two Broadway producers who quickly saw the enormous potential of the montage and seized their rights.

On February 14, 1972, Grease premiered at the Eden Theater, located on Off-Broadway in New York.

Grease was consolidated with the premiere of the film by Paramount Pictures in 1979

Richard Davis

They adapted parts of the script, added many more songs and gave the twist that would change everything: turning the relationship between Danny and Sandy into the plot axis of the musical. On February 14, 1972, Grease premiered at the Eden Theater, located on Off-Broadway in New York. After seven Tony Award nominations and a pilgrimage to different Broadway theaters, the musical reached the Majestic Theater, where it performed 3,388 performances and grossed $ 8 million at the box office.

An audiovisual bombshell

Infinitely greater has been the collection of the film, with profits exceeding 200 million dollars, which Paramount Pictures released in 1979 and which represented the consolidation of Grease and its leading actors. John Travolta, who had already participated in the theatrical musical playing Doody, acquired the leading role of Danny here; and Olivia Newton-John, known for her singing career, rose to movie stardom as Sandy. The couple is also a pop culture icon.

Decades have passed and the interest in the Grease universe, its characters and their dances and songs remains just as alive. In 2016, FOX Television offered a special, which won five Emmy Awards, and Paramount has already announced a new television series that will reveal the origin of the Pink Ladies, and is also working on a film prequel, titled Summer Loving. A transgenerational phenomenon that this Christmas is still current in the Nuevo Teatro Alcalá in Madrid.

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Grease: the musical you can’t miss this Christmas

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