Alright musical theater geeks, it is time to talk about a highly anticipated theater night… GREASE LIVE.
Tell you more? OK! So I grew up around the theater. Most of my family is musically inclined, and well, dramatic. I have always had a passion for live theater, my aunt is a director in New York, and so she kind of passed down her torch to me. As I grew up I performed in many plays in and out of school, up until I graduated! So I for one was really interested in how directors Thomas Kail, and Alex Rudzinski would pull off such a classic-timeless production such as Grease, but live! Fox’s live production of Grease was dynamic, romantic, fun, and most definitely entertaining! It has been interesting to me to hear so many different perspectives of people in theater vs people who are not! So let’s dive into the good stuff shall we?
1) Jessi J- OKAY. Her vocals to me, seemed to just fit the pocket of Grease is the word perfectly!
2) The CAMERAWORK? I mean, common! The direction was incredible- how they kept up with so many different shots from one sound stage to the next.
3) The casting-I had a few favorites.
To start, Julianne Hough made such a lovely Sandy! She had the look, the voice, and knew how to shake off that innocent Sandra Dee character in the finale to shape up Danny Zuko! I mean, what guy didn’t want to be Danny at that point with Julianne or Olivia? Exactly, total babes.
Vanessa Hudgens’s performance as the iconic role of Rizzo surprised me! The whole time I was thinking to myself that I wouldn’t be able to think of her as anyone except Gabriela from High School Musical, but she wowed me! This role really showed how she has matured since then, and I think gave the world a second glance at her acting and singing abilities. Maybe we’ll see her on Broadway soon? Who knows! But I am excited to see what she does next. She had sass, humor, and all that attitude! There is also such a high level of professionalism there, considering she lost her father hours before to stage 4 cancer. She tweeted before the show “Tonight, I do it in his honor..” our thoughts are with her at this time! That took such courage.
The last pink lady I’m going to brag on is Kether Donohue, she played Jan. Now, Jan is usually the least paid attention to when it comes to the pink ladies, but this girl grabbed my attention! She was hysterical! I loved, loved, and loved her take on Jan’s quirkiness’ she made such smart comedic choices. I couldn’t help but want to watch Jan!
Now let’s talk about the T-Birds… Point blank-They were all easy to look at, and had great chemistry! BUT
Andrew Call, aka “Sonny” was just so in tune with his character! He was so much fun to watch, his character delivery just seemed effortless, and natural, almost as if he was really like Sonny in his day to day life.
Those were my 4 favorites!
4) To wrap up the highs of the night, I’m going to leave it with the set, and production! I was truly impressed with how they used the gym in multiple scene’s to give it the live feel, because surely it was live, but not over produced which it could have been. You could see how many set pieces they had to change and play with during Jessie J’s opening number. Looked like a lot of running around for the cast and crew from my couch!
Alright, now the not so nice stuff- The lows of the night.
1) Keke Palmer-Not a fan of her take on Marty! It just seemed so pushed. She used such a deep character voice, and moved, or touched, or gestured just about every time she talked! It was ANNOYING! I wanted to fast forward over all of her parts.
2) Not a huge deal, but the sound could have been better, some of the songs near the end you felt like the volume dropped out instead of fading out, and that some mics were louder on some actors than others. Boo.
3) Ever heard the phrase “If it is not broke, don’t fix it?” Well, “All I Need Is An Angel” ruined Carly’s performance for me. Carly had so many classic moments of Frenchy that we love, and adore, but this was just painful, and rightfully out of place! It didn’t showcase her at all, and she sounded soft. This could have been a sound thing to blame though!
4) Last thing I really need to get off my chest, WHY didn’t they die Aaron Tveit’s hair??? He looked way more like Kenickie than Danny!! GRRR!
So to conclude, I don’t love or hate live musicals on TV. But I believe in going to the theater. I love going to a building with the sole purpose of getting lost into the story. It’s not the same as watching it on your couch with free popcorn, and a blanket. However, I appreciated what the producers did trying to expose the general population to what they miss on stage. Grease live was a hit! I’m sure people thought it was awful because they expected it to be a movie, and I know people like myself appreciated it. But if I can leave you with one thing it would be-Go to the theater! #GREASELIVE