Two Schools Cancelled Joint Production Of 'Grease' After Students Deemed It Inappropriate For 'Modern Times'
Jan 25, 2023 by apost team
There are some movies and TV shows from the past that don’t seem to have aged well when it comes to social issues. This also applies to the subject matter in musicals and stage plays. Students from the Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC) and Scotch College in Perth, Australia, were set to produce a joint production of “Grease” in 2022, but complaints from some members of the student body led to the cancelation of the musical. It was not revealed which play the school planned to do for the 2022 production instead.
Cate Begbie, the principal at PLC, and the headmaster of Scotch College, Peter Burt, released a joint statement in November 2021 that announced that “Grease” had been canceled due to subject matter that students found to be offensive and sexist. Specifically, the line “Did she put up a fight?” in the song “Summer Nights” was mentioned as being inappropriate.
Some parents have claimed that not all of the students were given a chance to share their opinions on canceling the production. They added that it was just a “small minority” of PLC students that found the musical to be offensive, and other students were never consulted. They also stated that the musical could have been rewritten for a more modern audience and shouldn’t have been canceled outright.
Before her passing in August 2022, Olivia Newton-John — one of the stars of the film "Grease" — spoke out previously about claims that the movie was sexist. She said the film is only for entertainment and is not meant to be taken seriously. Keep reading to learn more about this story and to hear more of Newton-John’s opinions on the matter.
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School officials from PLC and Scotch College sent out a joint statement announcing that “Grease” had been deemed inappropriate and would be canceled. “A number of PLC students raised concerns whether the musical was appropriate in modern times,” said PLC principal Cate Begbie and Scotch College headmaster Peter Burt.
They continued, “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.”
The late Olivia Newton-John spoke out on claims that the subject matter in “Grease” is offensive. "I think it's kind of silly. I mean, this movie was made in the 1970s about the 1950s. It was a stage play, it's a musical, it's fun. It's a fun movie musical, not to be taken so seriously,” she said in an episode of the “A Life of Greatness” podcast in February 2021.
The actress defended her character, Sandy, by explaining that her love interest, Danny, also goes through a major transformation in the film when he becomes a jock. So the criticisms of Sandy’s desire to change for a man were short-sighted.
“It’s a story from the 50s, where things were different. I know there were some criticisms about me wanting to change to be like him but they forget that he wanted to change to be what I wanted,” Newton-John said.
The star felt that both the film and musical were not meant to be taken so seriously. Newton-John explained: "We need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are. I didn't see it like that at all, I think it's a fun movie that entertains people."
What do you think of “Grease”? Would you consider it inappropriate for a modern audience? Let us know your opinion, and be sure to send this on to your friends and family to get their takes.