It’s Greased Lightning!
February 5, 2016
This past Sunday, FOX premiered a special that has been on people’s radar for a while– Grease: Live, which was filled with stars we’d seen grace the screen before, and then some unfamiliar faces. The concept of Grease: Live was something that we hadn’t seen before– a live musical. It was to be performed on 21 different sets, some outside and some inside on the Warner Brothers lot. With the set so expansive, you can imagine how hard it was to get from place to place and to change costumes in between scenes, but even with some difficulties such as these, it did have many highlights that made spectators swoon.
Vanessa Hudgens, former Disney Channel sweetheart from the High School Musical trilogy, played Rizzo, the crass and sassy Pink Lady that we grow to love throughout the show. With Rizzo being such a high-profile character, some were skeptical about Hudgens taking on this iconic role, but she did anything but shy away. Her rendition of “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” was the highlight of this three-hour event, for her vocals were at the top of her game, even after her father passing away from cancer just the day before.
But it wasn’t just Hudgens that surprised. Jordan Fisher, Disney Channel favorite, played Doody, one of the T-Birds who is supposed to be one of the low profile characters. But he definitely was not! With a name like Doody, you’re not supposed to fall in love with him, but with his rendition of “Those Magic Changes” that gets neglected in the ’78 movie, he truly gave us a magical experience that made it hard not to like him.
With highs such as the characters, costumes, the “Greased Lightning” scene, which was by far my favorite performance, and amazing sets, it was sad to see some lows to the show as well. With it being a live performance, there were bound to be some hiccups. And sadly, the sound was one of them. During the long dance break in “Born to Hand Jive,” there was a 2o second sound cut-out, making it awkward to see people singing but not being able to hear them.
There was also bad sound quality during the new song written just for Grease: Live called “All I Need Is an Angel, sung by Carly Rae Jepson, who played Frenchy. Jepson had her moments, but this song was definitely not one of them. She didn’t project, and that combined with the sound issues, made it hard to hear her sing this not-so-great song.
But one thing that was highly disappointing was the live audience. One of the other components that made this show so interesting was that they would use a live audience instead of filling the dances and bleachers with extras. They were told to dress up in ’50’s attire, but not to look too costume-y, but they looked out of place. There were many awkward silences coming from this group, and with their many “Oh dang it, I’m on live TV” facial expressions, it was sometimes hard to focus on the actors in front of them, and not the audience.
Even after all of the lows, the highs overcame them, making this the best live TV musical so far, surpassing The Sound of Music and Peter Pan: Live! (by far). Hopefully FOX will come up with some more ideas for another live musical so they can keep blessing our TV screens with amazing performances such as this.