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.