in the 1960s, as sexual roles are reversed. Now all American teens would lose their moral compass, they wailed, they would abandon all ambition and drive, and drown in a morass of juvenile delinquency. Like Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady, Sandy learns The Secret, that anyone can Fit In just by talking and looking the right way (and dont we all do that to some extent? Madison Avenue created an unlikely world of perfect appliances and perfect families, of highballs and hi-fis, Bermuda shorts and backyard barbecues. Dont you know what you Must do?
Elvis had been sent overseas. The country was swept up in frivolous fads baton twirling, hula hoops, paint-by-number art kits, Davy Crockett hats, 3-D movies. Like "Summer Nights this is a song about the difference between chaste love and carnal love, the love Sandra Dee falls into versus the more real, more carnal love of naked, sweaty bodies. Jazz was made for the brain. The act ends with "We Go Together an archetypal Happy Teenager song, very closely modeled on The Kodaks "Oh Gee, Oh Gosh" and Lewis Lymans "Im So Happy maybe with a little dash of Little Richards "Tutti Fruitti." (You can actually sing "We Go Together". As Grace Palladino asks in Teenagers: An American History, "Did the world really work better when girls had no choice in life but to get married, blacks knew their servile place, and kids who lived outside the charmed circle of upper-middle class life were invisible?". It was nominated for seven Tony Awards but won none.
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The conversation succinctly illuminates key aspects of Holdens character. Originally a rowdy, dangerous, over-sexed, and insightful piece of alternative theatre, Grease was inspired by the rule-busting success of Hair and shows like it, rejecting the trappings of other Broadway musicals for a more authentic, more visceral, more radical theatre experience that revealed great cultural. Have we really come all that far since 1959? These were the good old days, the happy days, the source of many an Americans earliest, fondest memories and many of our postwar institutions. Sandy is a Have, Danny is a Have-Not. This song is also a great example of the craftsmanship of the songs in this show. Over the clink of ice cubes, Americans mingled and misbehaved. These two worlds have to find an accommodation, and they will in the shows finale. Could they have misunderstood the Burger Palace Boys any more? Fuck is the granddaddy of all cuss words, the word that draws a line in the moral sand.
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