Grease Live Out-FOXES NBC. Let The Musical Games Begin. 

  I don’t know about you all, but Sunday evening’s production of Grease Live  on the Fox network was beyond outstanding.  It was brimming with creativity, enthusiasm, impeccable casting/star power, phenomenal vocals and choreography, – need I go on?  

And, by numerous accounts across the digital board, Grease Live set the bar extremely high and, basically, showed the NBC Network how a live musical should be staged for the television medium. 

This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy NBC’s live productions of “The Sound Of Music”, “Peter Pan” and “The Wiz”. I did. They were all equally wonderful. 

However, the creative vision and standard of excellence for “Grease Live” was very high -something that Fox has become accustomed to in their productions of American Idol, MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. They are obviously blessed with artistic risk-takers who are not  afraid to think outside the box.  Like way outside! 

Take the opening sequence of Grease Live, filmed outdoors, with Jessie J performing the title song from Grease – “Grease Is The Word“. What a great idea!   It was the perfect overture, setting the stage and mood for what was to follow.  

And what followed was nothing short of outstanding. In Julianne Hough and Aaron Tveit, Fox found the perfect Sandy and Danny characters – visually and vocally. The chemistry between the two performers was magical and their interpretation of their respective character was authentic and on point.

 And who can forget Vanessa Hudgens?  She sparkled in the role of iconic bad girl, Rizzo. Her vocal performance of “The Worst Thing I Can Do” was gorgeous and heartfelt.  And to think she lost her Dad to cancer a day before this production aired. The song became more meaningful in this context. 

 Truthfully, everyone was beautifully cast but I was especially proud of Canadian, Carly Rae Jepsen, as Frenchy. She really sang beautifully and interpreted her character so very well. Her featured number, “All I Need Is An Angel“, written by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey,  was one of a handful of wonderful new songs written for this production of Grease. 

The choreography was innovative and precise, rhythmically fluid and cohesive. I was breaking up when I saw those guys rock out on “Grease Lightning“. Not to mention the gals.  Although the voices were, at times, obscured by the busy choreography and over – pumped orchestration, the energy was stratospheric. So much attention to detail ruled this and every number. 

Joe Jonas and his band, DNCE, making  a special appearance as Johnny Casino and The Gamblers were a great touch. That was some high school dance at Rydell High. I don’t remember any of my high school dances having anything near this level of musical energy. Ha! 

And Mario Lopez making random appearances was just too funny. So many surprises packed into this fantastic show! 

I loved the inclusion of a live audience  – this supplemented  the authenticity and energy throughout this production. A real live event with a live cast and audience members. Doesn’t get better than that, does it?  And incorporating the audience into some of the numbers was pure genius. Genius!

Boy, I could get used to a Live Television Musical once a month – and on a Sunday. Bring back the “families gathered around the TV” thing again. Like back in the day. One can only hope that everything  old does become new again. 

A CD featuring the songs from Grease is available on iTUNES.

Thank you Grease Live Cast and Crew and Fox for making my Sunday a brighter one.  

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

2 Responses to “Grease Live Out-FOXES NBC. Let The Musical Games Begin. ”

  1. That was a great outstanding live show….. 2nd hightest in ratings now…. TSOM is still the biggest ratings yet, i don’t think any show will top that one…

    Julianne and Vanessa were my favorites, great voices…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree Richard. Carrie Underwood has such a large following, Many Idol fans were turned in. I thought the ratings were 44 million, but is that possible? She did a nice job.

    ‘Grease” has always been a favorite, having seen three stage productions and 10 viewings of the film. I was a huge fan of John Travolta! Aaron Tveit just seemed a bit older than Sandy. Plus, (for me) he needed more attitude, aggressiveness, and black hair. They didn’t seem in love as much as I hoped. Julianne Hough is a better dancer; however, Olivia Newton-John is the better singer. I wasn’t aware of Vanessa Hudgens’ father’s death, but it was obviously a vulnerable presentation rather than sass. This role may open up more acting jobs for her. Plus, she has such a pretty voice.

    Biggest disappointment? No Frankie Avalon character for this generation’s “Beauty School Drop-Out” – Frenchy. Boys 2 Men were weak and there should have been only one. I think JON BON JOVI or JOHN LEGEND would have been better.

    I loved the dancing and singing, and the chemistry between most of the cast was spot on. What a fun production! “Grease Live” is to be seen again.


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