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Grease's Stockard Channing Had To Fight To Get Rizzo's Big Song In The Movie

Grease is the word, but there is one big song that almost didn't make the cut in the musical's 1978 movie adaptation. The film set in the 1950s chronicles the school year at Rydell High as Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) and Danny Zuko (John Travolta) unexpectedly reconnect following their summer romance. But their's is not the only relationship in the spotlight as their storylines are interwoven with the lives of the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies, a group that will soon be the subject of the new prequel series "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" (via Entertainment Weekly). Fans may recall some of the group's most famous members, including Frenchie (Didi Conn), who famously dropped out of beauty school. But it's Rizzo (Stockard Channing) who makes a name for herself with her tough-as-nails attitude as she leads the Pink Ladies and trains Sandy in the ways of the group.

While the cars take some of the spotlight, "Grease" would not be complete without that iconic music, including tracks like "Summer Nights," "Hopelessly Devoted to You," and "You're the One That I Want." The film is an adaptation of the 1972 Broadway musical of the same name, but there was one song that only made it from the stage to the screen because of some campaigning done by crew members, including one of the film's stars.

Rizzo's song did not originally meet the producer's vision for the film

According to Playbill, the stage production of "Grease" launched in 1972, just a few years before the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies would speed their way onto the big screen. While Danny and Sandy sing many of the songs in "Grease," it's Rizzo's emotional number, "There Are Worse Things I Could Do," that adds an extra layer to the leader of the Pink Ladies. 

A digital copy of the production's Playbill shows that the song was a part of the Broadway run, but Stockard Channing says the song didn't originally fit with the vision set forth by Allan Carr, a writer and producer on the film. "When the movie was being cut together Allan really wanted to cut it because he thought it was a downer, maybe everyone else thought it was a downer too," she told Broadway World

Channing added that the moment got an extra layer of meaning thanks to Jeff Conaway (Rizzo's boyfriend Kenickie), who insisted on being in the background during her performance. "He's working on his car with the hood up and she's relating to him. It was so dear of him to do it," she said. And in the end, her big musical number made the cut. "It got in there by the skin of its teeth," Channing revealed. "[Choreographer] Pat Birch fought for it and the director as well. It's in there and I'm so grateful that it is."