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Canceling ‘Grease’ Is the Word

Cannes attendees watch a beach-front cinema screening of Grease, May 16, 2018. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

With lyrics like, “Tell me more, tell me more, did she put up a fight?” Grease was bound to attract cancellation junkies. Even as plans for a new production in London get under way, woke students forced the cancellation of a planned school production Down Under, citing outrage with the show’s “offensive, sexist, and anti-feminist themes.”

At Scotch College and Presbyterian Ladies College, two K–12 schools in Western Australia (not generally regarded as a hotspot for cultural trends) that were planning to put on Grease,  a joint statement said that the idea was nixed after: “A number of PLC students raised concerns whether the musical was appropriate in modern times. Scotch College listened respectfully to the girls’ concerns and both schools agreed a different musical would be better suited for their joint production in 2022.”

Olivia Newton-John pushed back against the first rumblings of protest last year, saying, “There’s nothing deep in [Grease] about #MeToo culture,” and suggesting that the show’s young detractors should recognize “things were different” in the 1950s. Which is kind of the whole point of the movie. A couple of prequel projects are in the works, one a series at HBO Max called Rise of the Pink Ladies and the other a feature at Paramount called Summer Nights.

I’m shocked, shocked to discover that the Fifties weren’t politically correct. Wait’ll these students hear about an even darker Seventies musical, one that prominently features racism, gang rape, attempted date rape, and an accidental death with an element of suicide, all in the last ten minutes or so. Saturday Night Fever, your cancellation awaits.

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