We ran Act II for the first time last night. I've done the show twice before, but I really had forgotten (or maybe never really noticed) how lean this writing is. There's not an extra word in there -- every moment reveals this subculture or it moves plot or character forward.
As I watched some of the scenes tonight, as I played for Lainie singing "Worse Things" and Beth singing the "Sandra Dee" reprise, I kept thinking to myself, Goddamn! It's fun living inside of Grease, having that music in my head when I drive around, thinking about what an incredibly interesting time that was! (Not necessarily good or bad, but really damned interesting...)
I feel like this from time to time about our shows (A New Brain, Hair, Floyd Collins, The Cradle Will Rock, Passion, Bat Boy, Songs for a New World), but the feeling is stronger than usual this time. There is something so utterly joyful and innocent and primal about this material, the language, the music, the sex. There's a whole lotta Truth goin' on in this show, and I think that's what, more than anything, makes people fall d.a. over white bucks in love with it. Theatre doesn't usually tell the truth about sex, but Grease does. Sex is sloppy, awkward, humiliating, funny, ridiculous, disgusting, transcendant. Some (shallow) people mock Grease (and, more deservedly, Grease II), because they only notice the surface love story. They don't notice how lovingly and authentically the rest of the story is told, and they don't "get" the satire and cultural commentary, probably because someone once taught them (or they taught themselves) that musicals are all stupid and there's no use even looking for artistry.
For me, there's nothing in the world like finding new depth in an old classic. It gives you hope that there are even more buried treasures waiting to be reborn. (I know, I know, mixed metaphor -- So sue me. Sue me. What can you do me?)
All in all, living in Grease motherfucking rocks. Fully.
Long Live the Musical!