(*homocinematically inclined)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Off the Shelf: Grease: Music on Film

Whether you're a T-Bird or a Pink Lady, the latest edition of Limelight Editions' Music on Film book series spotlighting the ultimate 50's musical Grease is the word. This compact tome, written by Stephen Tropiano (author of Music on Film: Cabaret and The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on Television) packs a whole lot of facts and trivia on the making of the #1 movie musical of all time into its 128 pages.

For example, did you know the Grease movie was almost an animated one directed by Ralph Bakshi (Fritz the Cat)? Or that original casting ideas included Elvis as Danny, Ann-Margret as Sandy and Lucie Arnaz as Rizzo? Or that the film's famed Rydell High was actually three separate Los Angeles-area high school locations?  Or how infamous porn star Harry Reems came this close to playing the school's athletics coach?

A quick read, Grease: Music on Film also delves into the creation of the original stage musical, through its three Broadway productions all the way up to its recent Chicago revival that returned to the show's raunchier, R-rated roots. In addition to insights from Grease creators Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, quotes and anecdotes from the filmmakers -- including infamous producer Allan Carr, first-time feature director Randal Kleiser and members of the cast -- are also featured.

Beyond the stage and screen Greases, the book also covers its less-than-successful (but still beloved in certain circles) sequel Grease 2 as well as its presence on television, like the You're the One That I Want reality competition series that cast its last New York revival. I particularly got a kick out of the list of promotional tie-ins, like the "Grease Hustle", that were attempted around the time of the film's 1978 premiere.  Alas, they didn't include some of the various merchandise, such as the Grease Barbie line,that have sprung up over the past 30+ years.

Although scant on pictures, Grease: Music on Film will definitely be the "one that you want" for every Grease fan. Click hereto purchase the book from

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