Last night, Grease LIVE! aired on FOX, and I’m still trying to comprehend what just happened. This highly anticipated live musical was introduced late last year with massive publicity via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and just about everywhere else. Grease found itself in our lives again. Live musicals are nothing new. What with NBC broadcasting The Wiz Live! and Peter Pan Live!, it seems like big networks want in on this. Rest assured, I feel like these will stick around for quite some time. After every live production, each musical seems to be getting better and better.
*NOTE: I am basing this review off the film adaptation NOT the original Broadway production!
Grease is no doubt a household name. It kind of makes me cringe when someone says they haven’t watched it or they don’t know what it is (maybe because it was way before their time…) How could anyone forget John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John? They were the pre-Jack and Rose “It” couple. At least, they were in my mind. Now we have new faces to look to as our Danny Zuko and Sandy. Hello, Aaron Tveit and Julianne Hough! Are their looks similar to Travolta and Newton-John? Unreal. The same chemistry as the original? Debatable.
Look, don’t get me wrong. As individual characters, they were AMAZING. I never knew Julianne Hough could sing (I obviously didn’t give Rock of Ages the chance it deserves!) and Aaron Tveit? He’s no stranger to theater. It was just my first time seeing him perform that way. Let it be known, I’m now part of his fan club. HOWEVER, I just never felt the spark as I did with the movie version of Danny and Sandy. I think I felt more chemistry between Patty Simcox and Eugene.
SPEAKING OF PATTY SIMCOX… In the movie, we never got a whole lot of her, but man, this newcomer Elle McLemore made Patty Simcox one-of-a-kind. It was one of the characters I loved seeing on screen. My ultimate favorite character?, however, was Rizzo, played by Vanessa Hudgens.
During the morning of the live show, she tweeted her father had passed away from stage 4 cancer. Hudgens has been open about this ordeal for quite some time, but it’s unfortunate it had to happen just before her big performance. She dedicated this night to her father and trust me when I say she would have made her father so proud. Rizzo did not fail us one bit. I’ve been scrolling through my Twitter feed and I haven’t seen one negative thing towards her role. Hudgens made Rizzo her own. Gone are the days where she was known just as “the girl from High School Musical.” This role is guaranteed her to break out from that title.
The great thing about this broadcast — other than the fact it was set in front of a real LIVE audience — was that there were so many fresh faces, forgotten actors/artists who showed their true talent on stage, AND cameos. Where do I even start? Was I the only one who swooned over Teen Beach Movie star Jordan Fisher, Doody, during his solo for “Those Magic Changes”? Maybe you were in awe when Scream Queens star Keke Palmer, Marty, killed it during “Freddy My Love.” Or, did you blink your way through missing the original Doody (Barry Peal) and Frenchy (Didi Conn) playing small roles? I mean, I wish John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John did the same, but I’ll let that slide…
This has got to be one of my favorite live broadcasts so far. It went off without a hitch and left viewers remembering why we fell in love with Grease in the first place: the music, the story, and the characters. But we must give a huge round of applause to the cast and crew because, without them, this could have gone a whole different direction, but they didn’t disappoint.