Grease opened Feb. 14, 1972, at the Eden Theatre. Barry Bostwick starred as Danny Zuko opposite Carole Demas as Sandy Dumbrowski. The cast also featured Adrienne Barbeau as Betty Rizzo, Timothy Meyers as Kenickie and future Tony-winning Chicago director Walter Bobbie as Roger.
The original version of Grease was rowdier and grittier than what is performed today in theatres. "There is a cosy aggressiveness to the show," wrote Clive Barnes in his New York Times review, "a deliberately loud-mouthed and facetious tastelessness that some will find attractive, especially, I imagine, those who were teenagers in Middle America at the end of the 1950s."
The production received seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical, and went on to play 3,388 performances, a record at the time. Notable replacements during the show's eight-year run included Peter Gallagher, Patrick Swayze, John Travolta, Judy Kaye and Richard Gere.