8 fun facts about Grease that are electrifying

Updated on 21 August 2023

It’s 2023 and the world remains hopelessly devoted to Grease! The timeless sensation has etched itself into the fabric of our culture, with its slicked-back romance, bustling diners and poodle skirts - not to mention the iconic leather jackets. For decades Grease has shown us that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s what you do with your dancin’ shoes!

From sandy shores to rebellious transformations, Danny and Sandy's journey is a whirlwind of emotion, set to some of the catchiest songs of all time.

So throw your mittens around your kittens and away we go! Read on for some electrifying facts about Grease (the film and musical)!

1. Greased Lightning was almost a different colour (film fact)

We all know and love the flashy hot rod, the iconic symbolism of teenage rivalry and trying to win over the one you love - but Greased Lightning is so much more than a car, it’s imprinted on the minds of everyone who has ever watched Grease, it manages to be camp, cool, bizarre and endearing all at the same time…but did you know it was almost a different colour?

In the original script, the car was supposed to be blue. However, when it came time to shoot the film, director Randal Kleiser thought that blue would blend in too much with the sky, so he opted for a vibrant red instead, and boy did that choice rev up the excitement!

2. John Travolta almost didn't play Danny (film fact)

The role of resident heartthrob Danny Zuko was almost given to Henry Winkler. Luckily, John Travolta stepped into the shoes of Danny Zuko, becoming the epitome of coolness and inspiring a generation of wanna-be bad boys.

Oh, and if Paramount had got their way, Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher could have played the prim and proper Sandy - as fabulous a choice as it may have been, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Olivia-Newton John seductively whispering the words “Tell me about it, stud.”

Speaking of what could’ve been, the masterminds behind Grease set their sights on a colossal figure for the cameo of the Teen Angel. The role was initially created specifically for the one and only Elvis Presley. That’s a choice that will always be on our minds!

3. The stage show came first (musical fact)

Before Grease became the smash-hit movie-musical that we know and love, it first wowed audiences as a Tony-nominated Broadway production in February 1972. 

While many associate Grease with the film, it's important to note that the stage show preceded the cinematic sensation. The original Broadway production played a pivotal role in establishing Grease as a cultural phenomenon. It laid the foundation for the musical's immense success and popularity and its astronomical rise to fame.

The stage show captures the initial artistic vision of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, allowing audiences to experience the story as it was originally conceived. 

4. ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ was written last minute (film fact)

Imagine Grease without Sandy’s heart-wrenching ballad. It almost didn't make it into the film, and that's a fact that's not so electrifying.

Legend has it that Olivia Newton-John's contract stipulated she should have one solo performance in the movie. When it was discovered that the script didn't include a solo, the producers had to act swiftly. The result? The unforgettable ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’, a song so instantly, and universally resonant that it earned Newton-John an Oscar nomination.

Writer and producer John Farrar went to great lengths to create this masterpiece, spending an extensive amount of time crafting its lyrics. He combed through every thesaurus and rhyming dictionary in sight, determined to pen the perfect words that would resonate with audiences. The result is a song that stands as one of the most beautiful and emotionally powerful in the entire Grease soundtrack.

5. Jeff Conaway played Danny Zuko (musical fact) 

It’s a debate as old as time, who is more endearing, Kenickie - the tough-looking, tattooed, womanizer or Danny Zuko, leader of the T-Birds? Jeff Conaway, known for his role as Kenickie in the Grease film, had a taste of both roles - as he also played Danny Zuko on Broadway.

It's a fun twist of fate that his friend John Travolta, whom he shared a manager with, later joined the show in a supporting role as Doody and went on to co-star with him in the smash-hit movie.

6. The Hand Jive was a nightmare, but it’s still iconic (film fact)

The Hand Jive is that thunderous dance number. Its breathless choreography, infectious instruments, and the pulsating beauty of a good old-fashioned dance-off make it a moment to remember.

Not only did the Hand Jive revive the popular dance craze from the 1950s, but it also showcased the exceptional talents of the Grease actors. However, behind the smiles and jumps, filming the iconic dance contest was no easy feat. 

It took an entire week to film at Huntington Park High School in Los Angeles, with temperatures reaching a scorching 116 degrees. The intense heat in the windowless environment caused several extras to fall ill. Actor Michael Tucci, who portrayed T-Bird Sonny LaTierri, even fainted and had to be rushed to the emergency room…the things we do for art!

7. It was influenced by the 1950s (musical fact) 

Grease fully embraced the spirit of the 1950s, from its slicked-back hair and leather jackets to its slick moves and everything in between. The cultural impact of the 1950s is palpable throughout the musical, immersing audiences in a nostalgic world of poodle skirts, jukeboxes and youthful rebellion, showing a world on the brink of change - Grease perfectly captures the essence of the 1950s era. 

8. Some of the most iconic songs never appeared in the musical (film and musical fact)

The musical magic of Grease extends beyond the stage. While the original Broadway production featured the beloved song ‘Summer Nights’ it's intriguing to note that three of the movie's most iconic songs, namely ‘Grease’ (sung by Frankie Valli), ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ and ‘You're the One That I Want’, were not part of the stage musical. 

These unforgettable tunes were specially crafted for the film, and their inclusion transformed them into sensational top-10 Billboard hits. It's a testament to the enduring power of Grease that it birthed such timeless music that would eventually translate back onto the stage. For the Grease franchise, the stars never stopped aligning. 

Grease tickets are available now! 

Grease will always be the one that we want! This must-see musical captures the youthful nostalgic magic and the spirit of Rydell High will live on forever. 

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By Kevin Thomas

From as early as I can recall, writing has always been my passion. Being able to combine this with my love for theatre has been a rewarding and exhilarating experience. I truly believe that there is magic in seeing a story brought to life on stage, and this is what I would like to promote to audiences.