Jim Jacobs Harris Green - Essay

Harris Green

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["Grease" is the] kind of musical that Broadway has needed for some time….

Somehow, it has managed to combine the two commodities everyone agrees our theater most requires: younger audiences and what I can best describe—not too ponderously, I trust—as "older virtues." That is, "Grease" deserves the adjectives we once awarded shows like "Pal Joey," "Kiss Me Kate," "Guys and Dolls" and "The Pajama Game" but haven't had much call for recently. (p. 1)

For several seasons we haven't had many musicals that deserve to be hailed as: "brash … charming … unsentimental … light-hearted … spunky … high-spirited … unpretentious." Good word, that "unpretentious"! Thanks to "Grease," all are applicable once more. The musical comedy is both musical and comic once more….

Jacobs and Casey view [the fifties] with that rare blend of affection and consternation that Sandy Wilson brought to "The Boy Friend."

They are so unsentimental about the brutishness of Elvis and the inanities of Annette that it wouldn't surprise me to learn they'd dashed the whole show off one weekend—possibly after watching an old beach-party flick on TV—when the pluperfect mindlessness of what they'd once taken seriously struck them with such force that each sprang to his typewriter or guitar, writhing with inspiration. Nowhere in "Grease" is there that mad delight in the insipid past that has permitted nostalgia to rage like a plague on Broadway….

Jacobs and Casey have no other cause...

(The entire section is 639 words.)