Who hand-jived their way through the rainy Sunday? What a perfect excuse for staying bundled up in fuzzy blankets and tuning into Fox's live broadcast of "Grease." The screen adaptation of both the musical and original film aired with stars such as Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Hudgens, Keke Palmer, Carlos PenaVega , and Carly Rae Jepsen, just to name a few. The diversity of the cast was one of the best things about this production. Not only were the leading and supporting roles ethnically varied, but many of the stars came from different backgrounds, whether they be stage actors, TV and film stars, musicians or professional dancers. In fact, the band playing during the school dance was none other than DNCE, known for "Cake By The Ocean," and frontman Joe Jonas.
The show took place on several of the Fox film lots, and it included inside and outside locations. Obviously, the show had to use tarps due to Sunday's rain because they declared that the show would go on, rain or shine. In fact, the cast members danced with umbrellas during the opening number, "Grease Is The Word."
The audience set up for the production was a little strange. The people who were fortunate enough to see the performance in person were actually incorporated into scenes, such as the pep assembly and the school dance. It was a little distracting at times, and it is hard to believe the story when there is a skinny-jean-clad and cell-phone-wielding mom sitting next to all of the supposedly 1950's high school students. It would have been better if they had separate seating for them, especially because the setup allowed each audience section to only truly experience one scene. Unlike the cast, the audience could not move from lot to lot. One very memorable audience shot, though, was during the song "Freddy, My Love," where members of the military could clearly be seen in uniform in the first several rows of the audience section. It was nice to see the show honoring and paying tribute to them by replicating a USO show for the song.
The scenery, though, was amazing. The mixture of outdoor and indoor scenes made the show more interesting to watch, and the sets were colorful and fun. One of the best sets was the diner, where viewers got a little surprise in the form of Didi Conn, who originated the role of Frenchy. Cohn made a guest appearance in the role of Vi, the owner of the diner. Speaking of that diner scene, Carly Rae Jepsen, in the role of Frenchy, performed a new song that the producers of "Grease: Live" wrote. While this song was beautiful and Jepsen did an amazing job of singing it, it did not seem to fit well with the style of the music of "Grease." While the rest of the music is very 50's and rock/doo wop, Frenchy's new song seemed more contemporary.
Another blast from the past was Barry Pearl, an original Thunderbird, who made a guest appearance. He served as a great symbol of the blend of the film and the musical that this new, live version represented. The characters expressed numerous references to the film's original cast, and the music was presented in a way that closely resembled the musical productions. Tveit and Hough showed brilliant chemistry, and their harmony was amazing. The dedication that the actors and crew had to the show was overly evident. In fact, during one of the commercial breaks, there was a sneak peak of the production team and a camera man who was suspended in air in a harness and wires, just to get the best shot possible for the show.
All of the hard work obviously paid off, as the show was a huge success. They were not trying to do anything but put on an awesome show, and they succeeded. If you missed it, try to find a friend who recorded it, or stream it at FOX.com.
Reach Staff Reporter Amanda Suarez here.