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Everything you need to know about ‘Grease’ in the West End

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

This show is hydromatic, this show is systematic! For nearly 50 years, West End audiences and Grease have gone together like "rama lama lama..." in London. We all wish we could enroll for our high school years at Rydell High, and be a part of high school groups, the Pink Ladies and the Burger Palace Boys. Instead, we have to imagine we're at Rydell High instead. Now, the days of imagining are over, as Grease returns to London.

The seventh Grease West End revival opens in 2022. This Grease adaptation rethinks the story with added grit and verve, and the end result is a musical with more energy than the Greased Lightning car. But there's all the Grease fan-favourite moments to look out for too! Listen out for Grease songs like "Summer Lovin'" and "You're The One That I Want". From how to get Grease tickets to when to see Grease, here's your ultimate guide to Grease.

What is Grease about?

The Grease musical follows a high school romance between Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski. One summer, Danny and Sandy fell in love, but had to say their goodbyes as they didn't live near each other. Later that summer, Sandy moves to a new area, and enrolls at Rydell High for her senior year. Little does she know that Danny Zuko also attends that high school! When the pair realise they're walking down the same school corridors, can Danny and Sandy make their true love last a lifetime?

While the Grease story centres on Danny and Sandy, there's plenty of moments to watch out for in Grease that don't involve them. During Grease, Rizzo learns that she might be pregnant, and Frenchy decides to drop out of high school to pursue a beauty career. Grease is filled with the trials and tribulations of teenage love, lust, and heartbreak — a definitive high school musical.

Where is Grease playing?

Grease in London is at the Dominion Theatre. The Dominion Theatre is one of the largest West End theatres, with over 2,000 seats. Dirty Dancing is also at the Dominion Theatre in 2022. The Dominion Theatre is located at the end of Oxford Street, on the junction with Tottenham Court Road.

How long is Grease?

The running time of Grease in London is 2 hours and 30 minutes. During the show, there is an interval of 20 minutes. The majority of London musicals, including Grease, have a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

What days is Grease playing?

Grease plays eight performances at the Dominion Theatre. Grease performances take place every day of the week, except Sunday. For the complete performance schedule and show times, visit the Grease page on London Theatre.

When did Grease premiere?

The Grease film popularised the show's story, but the Grease musical came first! Chicago's Kingston Mines Theatre Company staged the Grease world premiere in 1971. The production took place just minutes away from William Howard Taft School, where the Grease setting of Rydell High is based on. Grease quickly attracted New York City producers, and Grease opened Off-Broadway on Valentine's Day, 14 Feb. 1972. Months later, Grease opened on Broadway and ran for eight years.

The Grease British musical premiere took place in Coventry, ahead of a West End opening in 1973. To date, there have been six Grease revivals in London: 1979, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2007, and now 2022.

Who wrote Grease?

Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey wrote the book, the music, and the lyrics for the Grease musical. Together, they'd previously acted in shows at the Chicago Stage Guild, and collaborated on a "rock and roll high school musical" set in 1950s Chicago. In fact, Grease is inspired by William Howard Taft School in Chicago, Jacobs' alma mater. Unlike most musical theatre writers, Jim Jacob and Warren Casey only had one successful musical — Grease.

Grease Characters

There's many recognisable Grease characters that appear in both the Grease film and the Grease musical. Read on to find out more about the main characters you will see on stage in Grease in London.

Danny Zuko: Danny Zuko is a teenage heartthrob, and the leader of the Burger Palace Boys at Rydell High. Many of his peers rely on Zuko to tell them what to do, and he influences many events at the school. During the summer before his senior year, Zuko falls in love with Sandy Dumbrowski.

Sandy Dumbrowski: Sandy Dumbrowski is a senior highschooler who enrols at Rydell High for her final school year. That summer, she'd fallen for rough-around-the-edges Danny Zuko, but doesn't realise his true personality until they meet again at school. During Grease, Sandy changes her personality to fit in with Danny, and becone a part of the Pink Ladies.

Betty Rizzo: Betty Rizzo's name is shortened to Rizzo in Grease.Rizzo is the leader of the Pink Ladies, a popular female "gang" at Rydell High. During Grease, Rizzo appears to have a tough exterior, mocking her fellow schoolmates and feuds with Danny. But as the show develops, it's clear that Rizzo isn't quite as emotionally detached as it first appears.

Kenickie: Kenickie is Danny's best friend, and second-in-command in the Burger Palace Boys gang. Kenickie spends a great deal of time with his car, Greased Lightning. He's in an on-off relationship with Rizzo, and a pregnancy scare shakes his life up.

Frenchy: Frenchy is part of the Pink Ladies at Rydell High, but during her senior year, Frenchy drops out to enrol in beauty school. At beauty school, she struggles with her new lessons too. Frenchy gained her nickname by "french inhaling" a cigarette.

Other main characters in Grease include the Burger Palace Boys, Doody, Sonny, and Roger. Marty and Jan complete the Pink Ladies quintet. Then, there's other teenagers at Rydell High including preppy cheerleader Patty Simcox, and valedictorian Eugene.

No high school is complete without teachers, and eclectic English teacher Miss Lynch definitely shakes things up. Then there's "Cha-Cha", a strong dancer who appears at the high school hop, and Rydell High alumnus Vince Fontaine, who narrates at the high school dance.

Who is in the Grease London cast?

Dan Partridge and Olivia Moore play Danny and Sandy respectively. The Pink Ladies are completed by Jocasta Almgill as Rizzo, Eloise Davies as Frenchie, Lizzy-Rose Esin-Kelly as Marty, and Mary Moore as Jan. The Burger Palace Boys include Paul French as Kenickie, Jake Reynolds as Doody, and Damon Gould as Sonny. Peter Andre will make his West End debut as Vince Fontaine/Teen Angel and Jason Donovan will also play the Teen Angel at select performances.

Jessica Croll plays Patty Simcox, alongside Katie Lee as Cha Cha, Ronan Burns as Johnny Casino, and Corinna Powlesland as Miss Lynch. Darren Bennett plays Officer Mailie and Vince Fontaine at certain performances. The Grease ensemble will feature Jack Harrison-Cooper, Pearce Barron, Ben Culleton, Rishard-Kyro Nelson, Ellie Kingdon, Kamilla Fernandes, Remi Ferdinand, Kalisha Johnson, Zack Guest, Imogen Bailey, Kevin O’Dwyer and Carly Miles.

Grease Interviews

We sat down with the Grease London cast to talk about the show and why you should see Grease in the West End. Read our Grease interviews here.

Arlene Phillips in Grease Dan Partridge and Olivia Moore in Grease Peter Andre in Grease

When is Jason Donovan in Grease?

Jason Donovan is in certain performances of Grease. He'll appear in all performances from 29 June - 2 July, 4 July - 9 July, 12 - 17 September, 19 - 23 September, 3 - 8 October, and 10 - 15 October.

What songs are in Grease?

Some of the most popular songs in Grease include "You're The One That I Want" sung by Sandy and Danny. There's also dance numbers such as "Greased Lightning" and "Born To Hand Jive," as well as "We Go Together." In each Grease production, the song list changes ever so slightly, but you can expect to hear your favourite Grease songs. Here's all the songs in Grease:

Act 1:

"Grease" - Company
"Summer Nights" - Sandy, Danny, T-Birds, Pink Ladies, Company
"Those Magic Changes" - Doody, T-Birds, Ensemble
"Freddy, My Love" - Marty and Pink Ladies
"Greased Lightnin'" - Kenickie, Danny, T-Birds, Boys
"Rydell Fight Song" - Sandy and Patty
"Mooning" - Roger and Jan
"Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" - Rizzo
"We Go Together" - Company

Act 2:

"Shakin' at the High School Hop" - The Company
"It's Raining on Prom Night" - Sandy and Jan
"Born to Hand Jive" - Vince Fontaine and Company
"Hopelessly Devoted to You" - Sandy
"Beauty School Dropout" - Teen Angel and Female Angels
"Sandy" - Danny
"Rock 'N' Roll Party Queen" - Doody and Roger
"There Are Worse Things I Could Do" - Rizzo
"Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise)" - Sandy
"You're the One That I Want" - Danny, Sandy, Company
"We Go Together (Reprise)" - Full Company
"Grease Medley" - Full Company

Major productions of Grease

Grease is a popular musical around the world. As a result, there have been many major productions of Grease in the United Kingdom, the United States, and worldwide. Read more about the major productions of Grease in the West End and Grease on Broadway.

1971: Grease world premiere in Chicago, which ran for eight months. The original Grease production included references to Chicago landmarks, however these were omitted in future Grease shows.
1972: Grease Off-Broadway premiere. Grease opened at the Eden Theatre on 14 Feb. 1972, and was considered a "Broadway" show due to its contracts. Grease received seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical.
1972: Grease Broadway premiere. Grease opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on 7 Jun. 1972, and then moved to the Royale Theatre (now Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre) on 21 Nov. 1972. Grease closed on Broadway on 13 Apr. 1980, after 3,388 performances.
1973: Grease UK premiere. The UK premiere of Grease took place in Coventry.
1973: Grease West End premiere. Grease opened at the New London Theatre (now Gillian Lynne Theatre) on 26 Jun. 1973. Grease stars included Richard Gere as Danny, and Elaine Paige as Sandy. Grease closed on 14 Feb. 1974.
1979: Grease West End revival. Grease returned to London, playing at the Astoria Theatre from 7 Jun to 22 Sept. 1979. The Grease cast included Michael Howe as Danny, and Tracey Ullman as Frenchy.
1993: Grease West End revival. Grease opened at the Dominion Theatre in 1993, playing there to 1996. Grease then moved to the Cambridge Theatre for three more years. Over the six years, the Grease cast included Tamzin Outhwaite as Patty Simcox, Shane Richie as Kenickie, Sally Ann Triplett as Rizzo, Samantha Womack as Sandy. The 1993 musical included four new songs: "Hopelessly Devoted to You", "Sandy", "You're the One That I Want", and "Grease."
1994: Grease Broadway revival. Grease opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on May 11, 1994, and ran to 1998. The Grease Broadway cast included Rosie O'Donnell as Rizzo, Megan Mullally as Marty, and Billy Porter as Teen Angel.
2001: Grease West End revival. A two-week revival of Grease at the Dominion Theatre from 22 Oct. to 3 Nov. 2001.
2002: Grease West End revival. Grease returned to the West End for a new season at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Grease casting included Caroline Sheen as Sandy, Ben Forster as Doody, Daniel Boys as Rodger, and Louise Dearman as Jan. Grease closed on 6 Sept. 2003.
2007: Grease West End revival. Grease played for four years at the Piccadilly Theatre, beginning performances on 8 Aug 2007. Danny and Sandy were played by Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden — Bayne and McFadden were cast after winning a reality TV competition to find the next Danny and Sandy.
2007: Grease Broadway revival. Laura Osnes and Max Crumm won a reality TV show to earn the roles of Sandy and Danny for a new Grease revival. Grease played at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre from 24 Jul. 2007 to 4 Jan. 2009.

Onscreen adaptations of Grease

Due to Grease's popularity, there have been many adaptations of Grease. Grease onscreen adaptations have ensured new generations enjoy the Grease stories. Here's the most popular Grease onscreen adaptations.

1978: Grease released in cinemas, and was the highest-grossing musical film of all time on its release. The Grease soundtrack was the second-best-selling album, behind Saturday Night Fever. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John played Danny and Sandy respectively in the Grease film.
2009: Grease: The School Musical. In 2009, a British high school staged a production of Grease at the Novello Theatre.
2016: Grease: Live! NBC staged a live performance of Grease, and the show won five Emmy Awards. The cast included Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko, Julianne Hough as Sandy Dumbrowski, and Vanessa Hudgens as Betty Rizzo.
2022: Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies. A new TV show exploring the adventures of students at Rydell High. Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies will air on Paramount Plus.

Is the Grease musical the same as the Grease film?

Even though the Grease film popularised the Grease storyline for a global audience, the Grease musical actually came first. Both the Grease musical and the Grease film follow the same storyline, so if you've watched the film, there'll be no surprises. Some songs are at a different point in the musical compared to the film, but the storyline is similar. Get your Pink Ladies and Burger Palace Boy jackets, and head on down to the high school hop!

Fun facts about Grease

  • You may know the male group in Grease call themselves the T-Birds in the film. In the musical, they're called the Burger Palace Boys. The male group are named the "Burger Palace Boys" after their favourite diner.
  • "Hopelessly Devoted To You," ""You're the One That I Want," and ''Grease" songs didn't feature in the original Broadway musical. Since then, all three songs have been added to Grease productions.
  • You may wish you could visit Rydell High. But did you know the Grease school is based on a real place? Rydell High is based on William Howard Taft School in Chicago, Illinois, close to where Grease creator Jim Jacobs lived.

How to get Grease tickets

Grease tickets in London will be popular. Book Grease tickets today to avoid missing out! Grease is at the Dominion Theatre in London from 3 May to 29 Oct. 2022.

Grease tickets are available now. Book tickets to Grease on London Theatre today.

Photo credit: Grease cast (Photo by Hugo Glendinning)

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