Special Collections and Preservation Division
Chicago Theatre Collection
linear ft., 2 audiocassettes
Call number: Archives_WCP
Warren Casey, at times an author, lyricist, composer, and actor, is best known as co-author with Jim Jacobs of the hit musical Grease. A native of Yonkers, New York, Casey attended Syracuse University, where he earned a degree in fine arts. He later taught in New York high schools. Casey moved to Chicago in the early 1960s, where he became heavily involved in the local theater scene. He met Jim Jacobs in 1963, while acting with the Chicago Stage Guild. The two began writing Grease, a parody about high school in the 1950s, in 1970, after Casey had been fired from a job as a lingerie salesman and purchased a typewriter in preparation for a job as an advertising copywriter. The musical premiered at the Kingston Mines Theatre in Chicago 1971. It moved to New York in slightly altered form in 1972, where it earned Tony nominations and became the longest-running Broadway show of its time. In 1978 a film version of Grease was produced starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. This was followed by a less successful film sequel, Grease 2, in 1982.
In addition to his work with the Chicago Stage Guild and his work on Grease, Casey was involved in various ways with a number of Chicago theaters and independent writing projects. He was on the original artistic board of the Victory Gardens Theater, and created the role of Bernie in the 1974 Organic Theater premier of David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago. He and Jacobs also collaborated on a musical entitled Island of the Lost Co-Eds, which was produced by Columbia College in 1981. One of his final, and unfinished, projects included a collaboration on a musical with Brazilian performer Valucha de Castro. Casey died of complications of AIDS on November 8, 1988, at the age of 53.
The Warren Casey papers document creative projects undertaken by Casey in the 1970s and 1980s. The papers primarily consist of manuscript and typewritten working notes, scene ideas, draft scripts, lyrics, and scores. While the bulk of the materials relate to Grease and provide considerable insight into its conception and evolution, the papers also provide insight into the variety of other projects which Casey worked on.
The papers have been arranged into two series:General, 1973 and 1975
Productions and Projects, 1970-1988
The General series spans .25 linear ft. and includes correspondence, drafts of lyrics and scenes for unidentified projects, and one folder of miscellaneous freelance writing. The correspondence consists of an inquiry by Casey and Chicago writer Gary Houston into the state of musical stage rights for a children’s book, as well as an exchange between Casey and composer Lawrence S. Hurwit regarding a potential idea for a stage musical. Freelance writing includes a brief autobiographical sketch and a draft review article, as well as song lyrics and music with correspondence with the person for whom they were written.
The Productions and Projects series spans 3.25 linear ft. and includes draft and final scripts, lyrics and scores, as well as some administrative material such as correspondence, for productions and projects on which Casey worked during the 1970s and 1980s. As a large proportion of materials are undated, these files are arranged alphabetically by project or production title. Throughout the Box and Folder Inventory, “draft” refers to both handwritten materials and typescript materials with handwritten annotations or other indications of draft status. Where there is a significant amount of material or it is otherwise useful, materials within each production or project have been arranged into sub-categories of Administrative materials, Scripts, and Music.
Of note within this series are the considerable materials relating to Grease, which include working notes, draft and final versions of the script and score in its various manifestations, and the published score, as well as drafts of screenplays for the film version of Grease and its sequel, Grease 2. Also included is one folder of correspondence consisting of exchanges regarding songs in the film Grease 2, and a note from Eugene Suttel to Casey regarding the retention of the early working drafts which are now included in this collection. One folder of schedules for a proposed Grease reunion program includes some factual information about the original, New York, and film productions. Researchers should note that Special Collections also holds a program from the original Kingston Mines Theatre production, 1971, in the Miscellaneous Programs Collection, and a program from a Blackstone Theatre production, 1973, in the Loop/Historic Programs Collection.
Also of note in this series are materials relating to Island of Lost Co-Eds, which include an audiocassette of the 1981 production at Columbia College. Other titles represented which are known to have reached production include original lyrics and scores written for a 1977 Victory Gardens Theater production of June Moon. Additional materials relating to this production can be found in the Victory Gardens Theater Collection.
Other titles in this series are or may have been working titles only and never reached the production stage. Original folder titles have been maintained whenever possible. Of note are materials relating to Brasileira, a project on which Casey was working with Brazilian performer Valucha de Castro before his death, including an audiocassette of four professionally recorded songs.
These materials were donated to the Special Collections and Preservation Division by Burt Cohen in 1993.
The Warren Casey papers are available to the public for research in the Special Collections and Preservation Division Reading Room on the 9th floor of the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60605. Materials must be paged 24 hours in advance. The collection does not circulate, although photocopy services are available depending upon the condition of the original materials. First time patrons to Special Collections must present photo identification and complete a Reader Registration Form. Telephone inquiries on this collection and other Special Collections holdings can be directed to (312) 747-4875.
Copyright associated with all materials is retained by the author(s).
General, 1973 and 1975
Correspondence, 1973, 1975
2. Draft lyrics and scores, unidentified projects, n.d. (folder 1 of 2)
3. Draft lyrics and scores, unidentified projects, n.d. (folder 2 of 2)
4. Draft scenes, unidentified projects., n.d.
5. Freelance writing, 1973 and n.d.
Productions and Projects, 1970-1988
Administrative: Research, 1973-1977 (folder 1 of 2)
7. Administrative: Research, 1973-1977 (folder 2 of 2)
8. Draft scenes, n.d.
Brasileira [Unfinished project with Brazilian performer Valucha de Castro]
Audiocassette, professionally recorded, ©1988, n.d.
2. Lyrics and scores, drafts, n.d.
4. Scripts: Drafts and ideas for scenes, n.d. (folder 1 of 2)
5. Scripts: Drafts and ideas for scenes, n.d. (folder 2 of 2)
Administrative: Correspondence, 1977, 1981 and n.d.
7. Administrative: Schedules for Grease reunion, n.d.
8. Scripts: Ideas for scenes, n.d.
9. Scripts: Drafts, Act I, n.d. (folder 1 of 2)
10. Scripts: Drafts, Act I, n.d. (folder 2 of 2)
11. Scripts: Drafts, Act II, n.d.
Scripts: Drafts, misc. and unused scenes,n.d.
2. Scripts: Draft, complete script, n.d.
3. Scripts: Draft, complete script, with title page: “’GREASE’
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey; Copyright
1970 by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey; Property of: WAISSMAN &
FOX, INC. Suite 901 1564 Broadway New York, New York 10036,”
4. Scripts: Script, with title page: “’GREASE’
A New ‘50s Rock‘n Roll Musical; Book, Music and Lyrics
by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey; Musical Numbers and Dances Staged
by Patricia Birch; Directed by Tom Moore; Copyright © 1970
by Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey; PROPERTY OF: WAISSMAN & FOX,
INC. Suite 901; 1564 Broadway New York, New York 10036,” n.d.
5. Scripts: Script, with title page same as above, marked “Jim
Jacobs; Bus and Truck Tour Version (So-Called ‘Clean’
Version),” with handwritten alterations, n.d.
6. Scripts: Script, Vaselina [Spanish translation] by Julia de Llano, n.d.
7. Music: Lyrics, drafts, n.d.
8. Music: Lyrics for movie, drafts, n.d.
9. Music: Scores, drafts, n.d.
Music: Score, manuscript, in original binder, n.d.
2. Music: Score, manuscript, n.d.
3. Music: Score, published, “Grease/Vocal Selections,” Edwin H. Morris & Co., Inc., n.d.
Grease [film], by Bronte Woodard, 2nd Draft, April 18, 1977
5. Screenplays: Grease [film], by Bronte Woodard, 3rd Draft, May 12, 1977
6. Screenplays: Grease 2 [film], by Ken Finkleman, 1st Draft, August 27, 1981
Island of Lost Co-Eds
Audiocassette, “Live Performance at Columbia College,”
8. Scripts: Drafts, misc. scenes, n.d.
9. Scripts: Draft, incomplete [1st draft?], n.d.
Island of Lost Co-Eds, cont.
1. Scripts: Draft, incomplete [2nd draft?], n.d.
2. Scripts: Draft, complete script, with title page: “ISLAND OF LOST CO-EDS A Musical Jungle Epic; by WARREN CASEY and JIM JACOBS; Music and Lyrics by WARREN CASEY,” n.d.
3. Scripts: Draft, complete script, with title page: “ISLAND OF LOST COEDS A Musicl [sic] Jungle Epic; by WARREN CASEY and JIM JACOBS; Music and Lyrics by Warren Casey; Copyright 1981 by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs,” marked “ASAP Proof,” n.d.
4. Scripts: Script, final, title page same as above, n.d.
5. Scripts: Script, final, title page same as above, n.d. (copy 2)
6. Music: Lyrics, draft, n.d.
7. Music: Lyrics and scores, “Songs Cut or Unfinished,” n.d.
8. Music: Scores, drafts, n.d. Box 6
“Jeff” Award Show1. Lyrics and scores, drafts, n.d.
Jew on the Beach2. Lyrics and scores, drafts, n.d.
June Moon [Original music written for 1977 Victory Gardens Theater production]3. Script, by Ring Lardner and George S. Kaufman, © 1929, n.d.
4. Lyrics and scores, drafts, n.d.
La Fin du Jour5. Partial script, by Charles Spaak and Julien Duvivier, annotated, n.d.
6. Scripts and lyrics, drafts, n.d.
Lucia7. Scripts, lyrics and scores, drafts, n.d.
Mitsou8. Script, draft, n.d.
9. Lyrics, drafts, n.d.
Mudgett or The Monster of the Midway10. Correspondence, 1976
11. Complete binder, including “Lyrics,” “Music” [score], “Script,” “Old Songs,” and “Extra Copies,” n.d.
12. Scripts: Drafts, n.d. Box 7
Mudgett or The Monster of the Midway, cont.1. Scripts: Final [?], with title page: MUDGETT or THE MONSTER OF THE MIDWAY; A Musical Black Comedy; Music and Lyrics by Warren Casey; Book by Bury St. Edmund; from a story by Warren Casey, Stuart Gordon, & Bury St. Edmund; Copyright 1977 by the authors,” n.d.
2. Music: Lyrics, drafts, n.d.
3. Music: Scores, drafts, n.d.
Oh, Kay!4. Script, drafts, n.d.
Singles Bar Operetta5. Scripts and lyrics, drafts, n.d.
Sex Fantasies6. Lyrics and scores, drafts, n.d.
7. Synopsis, song ideas, and script, drafts, n.d.
The Thrill of Discovery8. Script, draft, n.d.
The Toast of Berwyn9. Scripts, lyrics and scores, drafts, n.d.
10. Scores, drafts, n.d.Untitled Schumacher Project
11. Correspondence, 1981