On January 31, 2016 FOX premiered their first live musical event Grease: Live. It starred Julianne Hough as Sandy and Aaron Tveit as Danny. The cast also consisted of High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo, former Big Time Rush member Carlos PenaVega as Kenickie, singer Carly Rae Jepsen as Frenchy, and Teen Beach Movie cast member Jordan Fisher as Doody. Not to mention, the original Frenchy, Didi Con, and the original Sonny, Michael Tucci, made appearances which brought back great memories of the original movie.
From the moment Jessie J began singing the theme song, “Grease” audiences knew they were in for a treat. The cast dazzled audiences with their energetic dance numbers and spot on acting skills.
Instead of focusing on the Broadway version of the show, Grease: Live stayed closer to the movie version. The New York Times said “The live-musicals-on-television trend is no longer about trying to capture the magic of being in a Broadway house, if it ever was.” A.V. Club said “Grease: Live’s truly impressive cinematography, which made the entire production feel more like a movie musical than a stage play.” It even was the second highest rated live musical premiere on TV, right behind The Sound Of Music Live!.
However, more than one review was able to pick out some of the major problems throughout the show.
Grease: Live included new songs that people were not too impressed with. The New York Times asked “were the added songs any improvement over the omitted songs? (Answer: No.)”. It was also said that the acting was dry and lost the plot of the show in the process. A.V. Club said “Yet for all its visual innovations and solid performances, Grease: Live sometimes struggled to capture the spirit of its source material. The characters of Grease take themselves seriously, but the show—for the most part—shouldn’t.”
As noted, there was a mixture of both good and bad reviews, but most people were impressed. Samantha Gonello’ 19, on acting, said “To me, the acting overall was pretty good. It seemed like everyone did pretty well and knew what they were doing.” About the new written in song “It could have done without it. The song did not add anything special to the story and was not sung very well.”
The reactions of the audience are completely different than the reactions of the major review writers. Overall, there were mixed reviews on Grease: Live but one thing is for sure, TV live musicals are becoming more and more popular each year they are broadcasted.
By Emily Ash ’19, Staff Writer