Review: Grease Live — Electrifyin’ At-Home Musical Experience


Olivia Haste '18

A wop ba-ba lu-bop and wop bam boom!!! Grease: Live! hit the world’s TV screens last Sunday in an automatic, systematic, and hydromatic performance of Grease, the classic American musical. Starring broadway, film, and TV favorites, Grease: Live! created a new generation of T-Birds and Pink Ladies.

The beloved musical tells the story of Danny Zuko, played by Aaron Tveit, and Sandy, played by Julianne Hough. These two summer lovers thought they had split up for good at the end of the summer. Little did they know, that they would meet again at Rydell High School for their senior year. Unbeknownst to Sandy (Hough), Danny (Tveit) has a bad boy reputation at school, along with his fellow greasers, the T-Birds. Sandy quickly befriends a girl named Frenchie, played by Carly Rae Jepsen. Frenchie takes Sandy under her wing and teaches her how to be in the all girl gang, the Pink Ladies.

The new live musical features an all-star cast lead by acclaimed broadway director Thomas Kail (Hamilton, In The Heights) and producer, Marc Platt (Wicked). The cast, lead by Aaron Tveit and Julianne Hough as Danny and Sandy, also featured: Keke Palmer (Marty), Vanessa Hudgens (Rizzo), Kether Donohue (Jan), Carly Rae Jepsen (Frenchie), Jordan Fisher (Doody), David Del Rio (Putzie), Carlos Penavega (Kenickie), and Andrew Call (Sonny). The production also feature outstanding cameos from superstars Boyz II Men, Mario Lopez, and DNCE.

The show was phenomenal, and I know that all Montrosians have fallen in love with bad boy, Danny Zuko all over again. Tveit’s take on Danny garnered much attention for his outstanding performance even from people all over the world. Grease: Live! has aired in the United Kingdom, and Australia with many more international showings to come.

Hough amazed viewers with her incredible rendition of the classic Hopelessly Devoted to You. Despite the microphone malfunction, Hough still managed to blow families at home away with her incredible vocals.

Vanessa Hudgens, however, had a harder day than most. The night before the highly anticipated broadcast, her father passed away after battling many years of cancer. The production team at Grease: Live! dedicated the performance to Greg Hudgens, her father. Clearly this loss only made her more determined, because Hudgen’s performance of Rizzo’s standard There Are Worse Things I Could Do astonished audiences, and changed the way critics perceive her work.

The broadcast was not perfect, however. Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, If/Then) music-directed the broadcast and wrote a new song for Carly Rae Jepsen called All I Need Is An Angel. The song and performance was clearly not well loved by Buzzfeed, Playbill, and For many of my peers, the song just didn’t fit the story line. Also, halfway through the big dance scene, all of the sound cut out on every TV viewing the show. That was twenty seconds of silence! How could we lose seconds of 20 seconds of pure gold and amazingness? I know that I definitely screamed at the TV.

Speaking of the dance scene, Julianne Hough absolutely represented her world class dancing skill with her equally talented partner, Aaron Tveit. The couple owned the dance floor during the very much beloved number “Hand-Jive.” Clearly, the were both born to hand jive at some point in their lives. Personally, I think that Tveit and Hough should make an impromptu appearance at semi this coming weekend. I hope no one is opposed to that.

With over twelve million viewers, Grease: Live! beat out NBC’s Peter Pan: Live! and The Wiz: Live! Needless to say, FOX Broadcasting has upped the game for live musicals. If you haven’t seen the amazing broadcast, check it out on On Demand, FoxNow, or pre-order the DVD.