Summer sun, something’s begun
But, uh oh, those summer nights
—“Summer Nights,” Grease
July has officially arrived, and as many parts of the world experience their hottest weeks of the year, the warmer weather may evoke daydreams of beachside excursions and summer flings: two prominent aspects of the beloved musical Grease. While some may wonder how the iconic storyline of this well-known musical became a fundamental part of the Larry Stylinson fandom, the answer lies in the subtle nods and references that both boys have made over the past thirteen years.
Before Louis Tomlinson’s rise to fame as a member of One Direction, a defining moment unfolded on the stage of his secondary school’s theater in Doncaster. Cast as the charming Danny Zuko in the musical Grease, Louis discovered his passion for performing, setting the stage for a remarkable journey that would intertwine his life with that of his former bandmate, Harry Styles. From that pivotal moment, the play’s importance was never forgotten, as mentions of the musical were continuously made throughout the years, whether on stage or on social media. Both Louis and Harry have alluded to the iconic musical, hinting at the profound significance it seemingly holds in both their hearts.
Their united love for Grease has never been a secret. Through social media posts and conversations with fans and interviewers alike, Louis and Harry have left a trail of breadcrumbs, revealing a shared connection to the musical. While in the band One Direction, Louis openly spoke about his performance as Danny Zuko and how it led him to audition for the X-Factor. In the band’s documentary, One Direction: This Is Us, Louis even brings viewers along to the school he used to attend, showing off the stage he performed on.
Just been watching my old Grease videos , it makes me sad 🙁 That was a fantastic part of my life!— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) January 30, 2011
Around the time that this documentary was being filmed and released, Harry also began referencing the musical on social media, showcasing his own fondness for the play.
The last scene of Grease is still the best piece of cinematic genius I have ever seen.— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) April 25, 2013
Always feel lucky when Grease songs come on the radio.— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) June 5, 2013
As the years progressed and the members of One Direction went their separate ways to pursue solo careers, the boys’ connection to Grease was never forgotten. A clip of Louis playing Danny Zuko aired on The Tonight Show in 2020 while he was promoting his debut album Walls, and in the fall of 2022, Louis and Harry’s tie to the musical was brought to the forefront yet again.
Towards the end of October, during a series of promotional interviews for Louis’ sophomore album Faith in the Future, mentions of his role in the musical resurfaced. This time, Louis revealed that he kept his leather jacket from the play and still owns it to this day. Then, not even two weeks later, Harry took to the stage during his Los Angeles residency for his highly anticipated “Harryween” performance, donned in his own version of the leather jacket while dressed up as none other than Danny Zuko. He and his bandmates performed as different characters from Grease, causing quite a stir throughout the fandom as the notable connection did not go unnoticed.
During the performance, fans became even more excited when Harry chose to cover the musical’s iconic love ballad, “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Given the history mentioned above, and the ties to Louis, many found the performance to be a personal devotion of sorts. Especially when, days later, Louis embarked on a sequence of album signings in England and another subtle nod was given. At one signing in particular, a fan asked him what his favorite song from Grease was. Given his leading role as Danny Zuko, one might have expected his response to be one of the many musical numbers that his character participated in, but instead, Louis seemed to ponder the question for a moment before sharing that his favorite song is none other than “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” insisting that the song is “a bit of a banger” while giving his trademark grin.
Despite the years that have gone by, it seems that Grease has remained a steadfast, important part of both Louis and Harry’s lives. On a surface level, it is a nostalgic play and beloved film to them both, but below the surface there appears to be an even deeper bond connecting them to this musical and to each other. Despite the changes and growth that both boys have undergone in the past thirteen years, it looks as though Louis has maintained the charismatic charm of one Danny Zuko, and Harry has remained hopelessly devoted to Lou.