Grease: Live: Exceeds Expectations of TV-Made Musical Production

Sarah Whalen

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From reality to live, the way we watch TV is constantly changing. If you didn’t catch Fox’s “Grease: Live” on Jan. 31 then you missed out. “Grease: Live” was one of the most intricate shows I’ve seen. 38 years later, recreating a classic such as “Grease” could’ve gone either of two ways: it could’ve been a huge disappointment and terrible, or it could’ve resparked this generation’s love for a classic. I assumed it would be somewhere in between. “Grease: Live” completely blew my expectations out of the water.
I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out because they were having actors that in the past were normally lead roles as a supporting actors, such as Vanessa Hudgens who played Rizzo. Hudgens was forced to persevere through the show after her father passed away the night before from stage four cancer. Hudgens dedicated her performace to her late father.
Hudgens did an amazing job as Rizzo. She was edgy and she nailed the songs; her song “There are Worse Things I Could Do” was wonderful. She had emotion and feeling and she was fantastic.
I think having child actors as main characters was a way to get the younger generation interested in “Grease.”
Julianne Hough, who played the lead role of Sandy perfectly, has previously been a professional dancer on “Dancing with the Stars” and is currently a judge, played Ariel Moore in “Footloose,” and many other roles. Hough has a wide variety of experience in singing and dancing which has helped her in a scene where she is constantly kicking and dancing at cheer tryouts.
Hough did an exceptional job of adding emotion to the dance moves. Compared to Olivia Newton-John, who played the role in the original, Hough did a wonderful job.
Danny Zucko, the male lead, was played by Aaron Tveit who has experience in musicals as well; he played Enjolras in “Les Miserables.” Tveit did a good job, but I don’t believe he played the role as well as the original Danny, John Travolta.
In order to keep things new and innovative, directors had to modernize a few things. They put in new songs such as “Freddy My Love” and “All I Need is an Angel.” I thought that the way they mixed it up and didn’t just have the same “Grease” that everyone’s seen was a way to keep it fresh, and it flowed very well. But they changed the “Hand Jive” scene, and I didn’t appreciate it. It is now a haunting variation of the original 1950’s dance in the gym.
One of my favorite parts of “Grease: Live” was that Vi, the diner waitress who gives Frenchie a big inspirational talk about going back to school and not being a high school or beauty school dropout, was the same actress who played Frenchie from the original “Grease,” Joan Blondell.
Throughout the show there were malfunctions and mess ups, but they were able to persevere.

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Grease: Live: Exceeds Expectations of TV-Made Musical Production