A Synopsis of the Musical "Grease"

by Chip Marsden

"Grease" is one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history.

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"Grease" is a classic American musical written by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs. Its original run in the 1970s remains one of the longest in Broadway history, with more than 3,000 performances. The musical has received two revivals on Broadway, and it spawned a hit 1978 movie.

The Pink Ladies and T-Birds

The two main characters in the musical, Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski, had a summer relationship that ended when the summer was over, but their feelings for each other lingered. As Act I starts, it's the first day of a new school year at Rydell High. The musical introduces two cliques in the school: the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies. The T-birds are a group of "greaser" guys who love cars, rock 'n' roll and chasing girls. Danny Zuko is a member.

Sandy and Danny Reunited

Sandy turns out to be the new girl at school, which comes as a surprise to both she and Danny. They ended their relationship over the summer because they thought they wouldn't see each other again. Sandy and Danny talk about their relationships to the Pink Ladies and T-Birds. Sandy longingly talks about their love and personal connection, while Danny lies about how physically close they had become. When they finally run into each other, Danny acts cool and dismisses Sandy to keep his bad-boy reputation intact.

Danny's Apology

Realizing that how he had acted toward Sandy was wrong, Danny attempts to apologize to her. But she knows he has been telling his friends lies about their intimacy, and she's upset.


Act II opens at the school prom. Sandy, still devastated about Danny, is the only student not dancing. One of the T-Birds, Kenickie, ditches his date, Cha-Cha, to dance with a Pink Lady, Betty Rizzo, in the hand jive contest. Because Rizzo was originally Danny's contest partner, Danny must dance with Cha-Cha. Danny and Cha-Cha end up winning, which makes Sandy jealous. She's even more upset with Danny, but she can't shake her love for him.

Danny, Sandy and Rizzo

Danny attempts to win back Sandy by joining the track team, and he finally gets her to go to the drive-in with him. He is too forward, though, and she retreats. The other characters experience drama, too. Rizzo believes she might be pregnant, and she angrily leaves Kenickie. Sandy offers Rizzo assistance and comfort in the wake of the news, but Rizzo dismisses her sharply. Sandy feels totally cast out.

Ending (Spoilers)

Sandy changes her style to be more greaserlike, and she adopts a more aggressive personality. The next time she sees Danny, they admit their feelings for one another. Rizzo, it turns out, was not pregnant, and she and Kenickie reconcile. The musical ends happily for everyone.

About the Author

Based in Virginia, Chip Marsden has been a writer for more than eight years. He has covered film, politics and culture for regional newspapers and online publications. Marsden holds a B.A. in theater arts with a concentration in performance.

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