What is it about GREASE 2 that I love? Well everything of course, as soon as it starts it just keeps on rolling. We’re going BACK TO SCHOOL at Rydell High! There’s familiar faces of the principal Miss McGee (Eve Arden) and her assistant Blanche (Dody Goodman) ready for a brand new year in the 60’s. Then our T-Birds come in on Motorcycles! What a gang of boys, lead by Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed) and then there’s Goose (Christopher McDonald), DiMucci (Peter Frechette) and Davey (Leif Green). Frenchy (Didi Conn) shows up and she welcomes the hunky new kinda square kid on the block (who happens to be Sandy’s cousin!) Michael Carrington (Maxuell Caulfield). Next up we get the PINK LADIES in their sporty pink jackets! We see the girls, Sharon (Maureen Teefy), Paulette (Lorna Luft) and Rhonda (Alison Price) who are all waiting on their leader Stephanie (Michelle Pfeiffer) oh and I can’t forget Pink Lady in waiting Dolores (Pamela Adlon). With everyone on the scene we just dive into school life, clique life that is Rydell High.
The big story in GREASE 2 is Stephanie who’s a Pink Lady is no longer interested in Nogerelli having outgrown him over the summer. Nogerelli doesn’t want to let go, he’s got a rep to protect and a code to uphold. (Pink Ladies are T-Bird girls, at least until grad!) As Stephanie has come into her own dreaming of a C-O-O-L R-I-D-E-R, Michael hopes he can fit the bill and win Stephanie’s heart. The songs and dances fit into all of that perfectly. (I have them all in my head playing on repeat as I ramble on here.)
GREASE 2 came out in 1982! I never got to see it in theaters back then but we (my family and I) saw it on video and cable! Any time we found it playing you can bet we would watch it again and again. We had the soundtrack on cassette and listened to it almost every time we drove some where far. I vividly remember singing along to every song with my sister. I took that cassette tape with me to college and listened to it as I would drive back and forth from L.A. to Nor Cal. The tape started to loose some juice, but it still delivered the musical goods.
GREASE 2 gets a lot of flack, but never from me! It hit a nerve in me as I know it has with others. When you find a kindred spirit that loves GREASE 2 as well, you know that’s a good friendship! It is a musical that keeps the tunes coming and every song and dance scene makes me happy. Yup, even “that” song.
I am happy that in recent years GREASE 2 has had some well deserved recognition not just as a cult classic but as a feminist movie. Yup, for reals!
Look at it, GREASE 2 empowers the women! It’s frank in it’s talk about sex! GREASE 2 was directed by a woman, Patricia Birch, and she did the choreography as well.
The first time I got to see GREASE 2 on a big screen was back in 2003! (I found my ticket stub to be sure!) 15 FREAKIN’ YEARS AGO! It was a midnight screening in June at The NUART theater in West L.A. with a shadow cast! Christopher McDonald was there, and I think Alison Price may have been there too, but Christopher for sure! My sister and my dad were with me at that screening. It was one of the best nights EVER! The shadow cast did an amazing job recreating the costumes and their C-O-O-L R-I-D-E-R came down on a tricycle! My sister and I never thought that experience could be topped! But hey 15 years later, here I am gushing over GREASE 2 because a 35th ANNIVERSARY screening put on my fans just happened in Los Angeles!
Monday March 12th at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater (by Laemmle) in Beverly Hills hosted a free fan screening with a big cast/crew Q&A for GREASE 2! (As soon as I heard about it I got tickets and made sure my sister could go with me.) We got there early and were second and third in line (almost first like Riff Randall) and totally a buzz with GREASE 2 geekiness. Talk about happy feelings just gushing over something you love with strangers because you’re all there for the same reason, GREASE 2! Even the few drops of rain while waiting outside didn’t dampen the mood.
The line grew, CHRISTOPHER MCDONALD showed up and greeted the line. The main guy behind organizing the event also came out to thank everyone and that was Brian Herzlinger (My Date With Drew, where he and Drew gushed over GREASE 2, Yup!).
Once inside the theater the soundtrack was blaring and people started singing along. My sister and I got seats in the second row, right in the middle! As the theater filled and the place buzzed with good vibes more of the cast was around and hanging in front of the theater. My sister who had gone off for a moment came back with a picture of herself and Maxwell Caulfield and so it was my turn to take a try. Yup! I found Maxwell in the lobby and asked for a photo, he commented on my pink jacket and asked if I had seen the movie on a big screen. I told him about the shadow cast show and then he gave me a grab hug as I snapped our picture! AHHHHH!! C-O-O-L R-I-D-E-R himself! Yeah, I’m giddy!
Brian came on down to kick off the screening, he thanked everyone for coming and promised a fun Q&A after the show!
GREASE 2, in 35mm, hit the screen. My sister and I squealed and giggled and sang along. Everyone in the theater clapped, sang, said the lines. A few guys next to us were a glow every time Michael/Maxwell was on screen just as my sister and I were. 😉 Screening like this are what makes a movie go-er like me so happy. It’s sharing the happiness, the geekiness and thinking hey people can just get along when you find great things to share. (But I digress…)
The print was beautiful! Slouched in my seat and looking up at the screen from the second row the movie was as great as ever. On a big screen you can see more of the background, notice something new and just feel like you’re there in the halls of Rydell High.
When the movie was over Brian came back down to introduce the cast, Christopher McDonald was the first one down followed by Alison Price (Rhonda), then Maureen Teefy (Sharon) and Leif Green (Davey), Adrian Zmed (Nogerelli), the cheerleader twins Jean Sagal and Liz Sagal, Maxwell (Michael) and the director Patricia Birch. The stage was full!
Brian was ready to ask some questions and first shared some facts; GREASE 2 came out in 1982 and there were only 3 movies directed by women that year, it was GREASE 2 (Patricia Birch) obviously, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (Amy Heckerling) and SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (Amy Holden Jones). Brian then gave a shout out to Lorna Luft who is currently dealing with medical issues. (Later during the talk Adrian said he had talked to Lorna’s husband and she could use all our good vibes and thoughts.)
As the Q&A went on Brian asked Patricia about directing and she shared her method, she was good at what she did and she came right out to tell her crew what she knew and what she didn’t so she could get the help she needed. The opening scene is one of her favorites, she loved her cast and let them improv. She is still amazed at how she pulled off the Luau scene with so many motorcycles going around and she loved the bowling alley song. Patricia shared that she had watched the movie 2 month ago to check out the sound and was energized by the warmth and emotional appeal of high school anxiety presented on film.
There was talk about how YES the film does embody female empowerment.
Chris McDonald says he forces his kids to watch the movie every Sunday (haha!) and how when he auditioned he was trying for the part of Nogerelli.
I learned that Alison Price is actually Patricia Birch’s daughter (learned something new!) and she shared that her mom gave her a cabbage with candles for her birthday on set instead of a cake!
Brian said he did get an email from Tab Hunter who is the awesome teacher Mr. Stuart in the film and Tab sent his well wishes and thanks to all who would attend the show that night.
Maureen was asked about the song DO IT FOR OUR COUNTRY and she said how she didn’t exactly think about what she was singing about back then. That Monday night it was the first time she ever saw GREASE 2 on a big screen as she was on a honeymoon when it first came out.
The twins Jean and Liz shared that they had been cast in the film separately but it was Patricia who decided to play up their twin angle.
Adrian really did put a real cigarette in his mouth, he said he practiced a lot up until the day it was filmed, but he didn’t actually swallow it. Adrian commented on how there’s just an innocence to the film of trying to be cool when you feel like you’re not cool.
Everyone would gush that it was one of the best times of their lives and they all thanked Patricia for the opportunity.
Maxwell said how he just fell in love with Michelle again seeing her on the big screen. He talked about his stuntman who was the lucky one riding through Griffith Park with Michelle and that he beat out a lot of other teen idols for the roll.
Leif shared a fun story about the idea of saying his character Davey could have been related to Rizzo and that’s how he was in the T-BIRDS and one day on set he got the cast to join in watching the dailies by dressing up as Rizzo.
Brian’s last question before going to the audience was asking Maxwell about what he whispers to Dolores at the end of the movie. Maxwell shared! It was a naughty little nursery rhyme! Then Leif chimed in saying how Pamela (Dolores) was the youngest on set and she cussed like a sailor!
Adrian said a lot of injuries, ankle twists and things happened on the bowling alley scene, Michelle had gotten a black eye and that’s why she wore sunglasses a lot through the film.
Patricia really loved her biker heaven, told Maxwell how he was gorgeous in that scene and that they filmed it in 3 days.
The PROWLIN’ song was filmed in 24 hours, they scrambled to get it shot when they decided they wanted the full song to be featured in the film and Patricia came up with the stage idea since they didn’t have enough time to recreate an old supermarket.
My little sister, Sara, took a moment in the Q&A to gush about her love of GREASE 2 and thanked all on stage. As my sister said our lives are all better with GREASE 2 being a part of it.
GREASE 2 will finally be out on a Blu-Ray later in April as part of GREASE, GREASE 2 combo celebrating GREASE’s 40th anniversary.
All the cast agreed how the movie exudes a sense of warmth and Patricia said it was all thanks to the cast and they were the ones to bring out the humor in it all. As it all came to an end Brian thanked all for being there to celebrate the legacy of GREASE 2.
My sister and I hung around and managed to get some pictures with more of the cast, I talked to Christopher about the Nuart screening and he too said how much fun that had been. Having the chance to tell the cast what the movie meant and give a little thanks was so much fun, as cool as BIKER HEAVEN.
On a side note actor Keith Coogan was hanging around the theater and my sister and I got to chat with him some and so that was a nice and fun extra cherry on top! (Woot!!)
So yes I still love GREASE 2, if not more than ever! Thankfully no flying cars ended the night and my GREASE 2 high is still keeping me going and going! Yup!