#REVIEW: “GREASE LIVE!”
Admit it! You didn’t think GREASE LIVE! was gonna be any good, did you??! I mean, how is it possible to top a Masterpiece? We tried erasing the less-than-stellar GREASE 2 right out of our memories, but have failed time and time again.
Little did we know sitting on our couches at 7:00 PM – an unassuming Sunday night – that Television forever would be transformed for us! What made Alex Rudzinski (Dancing with the Stars) and Thomas Kail (2 Broke Girls)‘s Live TV Adaptation of one of the greatest Films ever made wonderful, was that it captured precisely the charm and energy that made us fall in love with the 1978 Original. This we remind you, is not an easy feat. We’ve seen so many Remakes on the Big Screen in recent years disappointingly fall flat.
Everything from a sophisticated stage design which brought us back to Rydell High right down to the almost identical frame-for-frame replication of the original Film had us in awe. As we cut in and out of commercial break, we got quick flashes of the pandemonium behind-the-scenes, the Actors getting transported in trollies from stage to stage at a frenetic pace, keeping us engaged and rooting for them a la Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Most important of all, the casting was phenomenal. Actors like Vanessa Hudgens, Keke Palmer, Carly Rae Jepsen, Julianne Hough and Aaron Tveit didn’t exactly have us jumping for excitement initially, but were we ever off the mark!
Hudgens although a little shaky in her rendition of Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee, got it together in the Second Act wowing us in full force as a sassy, no-nonsense Rizzo, just mesmerizing in her delivery of There Are Worse Things. What is even more heartbreaking is that Hudgens just yesterday lost her father Greg, channeling her emotions completely tonight on-stage for her biggest Audience yet.
Keke Palmer whom often has been relegated to supporting roles on the likes of Scream Queens and 90210, really shined as flirty Marty, giving Freddy My Love an injection of soul. Promising and underrated describe only the tip of the iceberg for this burgeoning star, who actually is already a veteran.
Broadway star Aaron Tveit was excellent as our Danny Zuko, embodying exactly the endearing unpredictability of being a hormonal teenager. Although making a few modifications to the melodies we loved vocally early, he saved it all for late, stealing our hearts in his powerful performance of ballad Sandy. We only knew him prior from 2012’s Les Misérables, but we now are obsessed.
Julianne Hough perhaps carries the greatest weight of all in the beloved role of Sandy and she did not disappoint at any step, although a bit of fatigue could be heard late after a demanding First and Second Act. She was the perfect Sandy, capturing her naiveté and level-headedness. Vocally, she possessed the strength to deliver for the three-hour show and physically, she was spot-on in her choreography which had her cheerleading and dancing her way beginning to end. It didn’t take us long into the broadcast to realize that we’ve long under-estimated Hough.
What also was amazing is that one of our favourites from the Original surfaced as a Cameo – Didi Conn (originally Frenchy) as waitress Vi and above that, appearances from The Brady Bunch‘s Eve Plumb as Shop Teacher Mrs. Murdock and even Boys II Men as our Teen Angels performing Beauty School Drop-Out. Joe Jonas and his new band DNCE also appeared as Johnny Casino and The Gamblers, while vocal powerhouse Jessie J kicked it all off singing the show’s theme, Grease is the Word.
Although we enjoyed the Broadcast greatly, we knew we were “hopelessly devoted” by the Final Act – the end-of-year Carnival scene to be exact. We didn’t want to say goodbye – which is exactly the same way we felt when he first saw the Original. Truly magical.
Learn more about GREASE LIVE! here and how to stream it.
Download the complete Soundtrack from GREASE LIVE! here.
My instant reaction to GREASE LIVE!:
(Photo/video credit: FOX)