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Greased Lightning


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Some of you may remember me from around a year ago where I picked people's brains relentlessly for several months while I panicked about the finer points of putting Jesus Christ Superstar onto my tiny school stage. Well, I'm back, and this year's musical is Grease...


Yes, Grease, and my first thoughts were of the automatic, hydromatic, crapomatic car that has to go on stage. My problem is that I just can't settle for a bodged up card profile of a car (or even a good quality cardboard profile of a car). It's gonna have to be impressive...


So, long story short, does anyone have any experience with Greased Lightnings that they can share with me? Being such a popular musical, I hope several members have done the show before in somewhat less-than-ideal conditions and space constraints and can let me know how they tackled the task.


All I can really think of is a trolley with a sort of isometric view of the front of a car (bonnet, front-side) on it, which can be stored in our very limited wing space and rolled on. I assume car wings/bonnets can be picked up at a scrap yard somehow. Some people say I'm too ambitious, but last year's show was very ambitious and worked a treat. Let's hope I can pull this off.





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About 2years ago I went back to my old school and lit a production of Grease for them. Our wings were about 8ft wide at the base and about 4ft wide at the top.


Anyway we managed to get hold of an old Ford Escort from the scrappers and had the engine, roof and all glasswork taken out. They then delivered it into the theatre (god bless the scenery dock) and we put it on small dollies for taking in and out of the wings. Because it was so light two guys could pick the upstage end up and then do a 90º turn onstage and bring it out this way, saving alot of space.


Attaching a pic of the show below so you can see the car, to see what we did.






(Apologies for the VHS caps)


Hope this helps.

Warm Regards,


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we did grease 2 years ago now and we used half a real car on a box troley we still have the car on our stage but I dont think its in a good state but it worked well using the front end of the car on a black drape background u couldent see the end from the audience, we got the lights working with an in car battery.

hope that helps where are u in the country.


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I did Grease back in April and although we had the room for a real car on stage we didn't have the wingspace for it, so it had to stay on stage. What we did was push it all the way upstage and then drop a black drape in front of it when we didn't want to see it - it got used for the Drive-In scene as well as the Greased Lightnin sequence - we just had a couple of crew behind it to shove it downstage. This did mean that it took up a couple of metres upstage, but what we did was put a rostrum on each side of it and that's where the band sat, so it worked out quite well. Even if you don't have room to do this with a whole car, you could do what Elwell2004 suggested and use half a car, put it hard against a black drape against the back wall and just drop a tab in front of it when you don't want to see it - this is of course assuming that you are able to fly curtains. If you can't fly them, can you close a set of tabs in front of the car? Of course, if you only have half a car then pushing it downstage might be difficult!


We also had the engine taken out of the car and put loads of lights all through it - baby strobes in the front grille, ropelight round the windscreen and front grille, a fan of pinspots (14 of them, I think) in the back, parcan bulbs for headlights (par56 bulbs fitted perfectly!), MR16 bulbs for indicators, floods in the wheel arches and a DMX controlled smoke machine in the back as well so that you could see the pinspots. We did have an entire dimmer pack purely for the car though...oh, and we ran dry ice under the car during Greased Lightnin' - had the hoses directly behind the car and didn't have too much ice running so that we got streams of it going forwards where the guys were dancing - but our dry ice machine had a fan to drive the ice through the hoses, which I think you'd need to get the ice going forward fast enough to get the effect. The car didn't lift up or anything cool like that though - it was supposed to but we didn't have time to get the hydraulic lift arm working properly for us.


Hope this helps you some!

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;) did this one feb 03!


school drama studio which is reasnably sized...


cut the winmirrors and roof off of a vw scirroco painted pink ! so it would fit in through the firedoors


it was actully steered onto stage (pushed by backstage)


our set design was integral to the whole plan - a massive scaffolding systym covered in black chipboard which the whole band were on top of and the whole thing was played infront of it, in the centre of this massive black assembly was a garage sized hole with a trab hanging init! the car was given a shove from behind and appeared on the very small stage!!!!


got a round of applause every night for this one !


however in two rehearsals the car caught the chipboard surround on the way through and broke bits off, so we were carefull how the backstage lined it up from thoose two times on!


very very impressive! :)


worth all the hastle when it came through for the first time in greased lightning - such a moment!

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yes we had problems with pushing it onstage every nite and getting it in the right place every nite we eventually locked the whells to just go striaght forward and back still move sideways abit but nothin major.

I forgot to say we had a ford escort to and stripped everything out of it actually quite light wen everything was out of the car. Remember to change the side of the steering we forgot about that until the technical.

cya bye Matt

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Yet another recent Grease here. We had a butchered mini, hidden behind soft masking when not required on stage. We bought a very cheap mini from a local scrap yard, removed literally everything inside, covered the seats in some cheesy lepordskin print, painted the car pink, made a papeir mache (fireproofing??!) shell for the 'old' car.

Pics on my site (links in my sig).

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Very similar hack job done on a MK 1 Ford Transit for We Will Rock You in the Dominion.

Removed everthing none essential (engine, gearbox, drive train etc) and mounted it onto castors. Cut at an odd angle to ensure it could fly between the bars. Van came from scrap yard. Lots of excellent dressing and fibreglass work done by Souvenir Studios but you can see the idea










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In my school's production of Grease two years ago, we used the front end of a car (can't recall what model but it was relatively small) and covered where the back seats should have been with a black curtain.

The car remained on stage at all times, but when it wasnt being used as a car, the bonnet was lifted up and where the engine should have been, we installed a piece of wood so it could be used as a seat/bench for characters to sit on.

This worked very well, as it wasn't very time consuming to change scenery, and as the set was multipurpose, there was minimal wastage of space.

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