Grease: Live Review


Hailey Spaeth

By Hailey Spaeth ’17, Arts Editor

            Grease: Live was a sight to behold for all the die-hard fans of the classic 70s movie-musical. The adaptation with an entirely new cast and added dance numbers aired live on TV the evening of January 31st. The star-studded cast included Julianne Hough as Sandy, Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko, and Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo Carly Rae Jepson, Keke Palmer, Mario Lopez, Joe Jonas and even Boyz II Men also make appearances. As a huge fan of the original 1978 Grease movie, I was quite skeptical of this new version. John Travolta will always be Danny to me, (any other person just seems out of place), and I was afraid the producers would try to modernize the show too much. Yet it soon became clear that Grease: Live wasn’t trying to replace or copy the original Grease. With an expansive set, new dance moves, and even additional bonus songs, the live TV Grease put its own twist on this classic musical without seeming too cheesy or overdone.

Grease begins with Danny and Sandy, two entering high school seniors, talking to one another on the beach. They’ve spent an entire summer together and fell in love in the meantime. Alas, they must return to school and leave the place they’ve been vacationing. Little do they know that Sandy is transferring to Danny’s high school from Salt Lake City, which would be great, expect for the fact that Danny’s bad boy image doesn’t include a sweet, blonde girlfriend such as Sandy. The musical follows their journey as Danny learns to put his reputation aside and prioritize Sandy. Hough played the perfect Sandy and I was very impressed with her performance. Tveit had a very impressive show as well (although I’m still partial towards Travolta.) He can sing and dance very well but I don’t think he fit the bad boy image needed for the role of Danny.

Other high-schoolers along for the ride are the Pink Ladies and the Greasers. The Pink Ladies, led by Rizzo, take Sandy under their wing while the Greasers are the goofy guys that worship Danny, but also criticize his every move and pressure him into being distant towards Sandy. The Greasers had a solid performance, although a tad forgettable. The Pink Ladies were phenomenal all around. Hudgens shined in “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” and her performance was incredibly impressive considering the fact that her father died not even a day before. Keke Palmer was a convincing Marty and her song “Freddy, My Love”, a new addition to the soundtrack, was a joy to watch.  Carly Rae Jepsen failed to stand out as Frenchie but still held a solid performance.

The fact that the entire production was live added an entirely new layer of impressiveness to the production. The countless hours put into the production were evident, yet all the actors and actresses seemed comfortable and confident. The beginning and ending numbers diverged much from the original movie. Despite weather issues, cameras followed the cast around and outside the ginormous set on golf carts while “Grease (Is the Word)” and “We Go Together” were sung live by the cast as a live audience watched. The TV-special certainly took on the mantra “go big or go home.” Overall, the event was highly successful. It diverged just enough from the original to be interesting, but it was also very similar to the 1970s version. It provided an opportunity for Grease fans to revisit the story of Sandy and Danny without having to watch the original for the 20th time.