“Grease: Live” portrays original screenplay in a fresh and modern style

Published by adviser, Author: Amber Cannon - Campus Life Editor, Date: February 3, 2016

The live television version of Grease, “Grease: Live” debuted on Sunday, Jan. 31, and surprisingly, it didn’t disappoint.

Every time a television network does a live rendition of a musical, most people doubt that the original can be topped. In my opinion, when a live rendition of a musical is being done on television, the live version isn’t supposed to mimic the original; it’s supposed to serve a different twist on the musical that’s never been seen before.

Even though nothing can ever compare to the original “Grease,” “Grease: Live” came pretty close.

One thing that caught my eye while watching “Grease: Live” was the amazing camerawork. When I first started watching the musical, the way the camera was maneuvered made me feel as if I was watching a television show rather than a live production of a musical. I like how the camera panned left and panned right often to give the viewer a sense of everything that was going on.

The acting, dancing and singing in “Grease: Live” were also top-notch.

I was a little skeptical about Aaron Tveit playing Danny Zuko at first. In my opinion, when I first saw him as Zuko, he just didn’t seem rugged enough to me. I have to say, I was proven wrong. Tveit captured Zuko perfectly by giving off just enough sensitivity and toughness to match John Travolta’s rendition of the character in 1978. Tveit’s singing, dancing and acting embodied Zuko perfectly.

Julianne Hough was absolutely perfect as Sandy. She fit the role well, dancing-wise and acting-wise. I was incredibly shocked by how well of a singer Hough was. Prior to “Grease: Live,” I’ve never heard Hough sing before, so it was refreshing to hear a new voice belt out “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”

The one person who stole the show for me was Vanessa Hudgens, who played Rizzo. If I wouldn’t have known, I would have never guessed that she lost her father the day before the show. She gave her performance flawlessly, and gave off one of the best theatrical performances in the whole production.

Musically, Jordan Fisher, who played Doody, got his time to shine when he sang “Those Magic Changes.”

The diversity in “Grease: Live” was also greatly appreciated. In the original “Grease,” there was little diversity, if none at all, but in the live production, there was a vast array of different races incorporated. Another smart choice that I believe the director of “Grease: Live” made was including the original Frenchie, Didi Conn, as a waitress at the Burger Palace. It was a great way to include someone from the original production into the modern twist on the musical.

I loved Boyz II Men as Teen Angel in “Beauty School Dropout.” Again, it added that modern element that made the live production so much different than the original version. I also loved how Jessie J opened the show singing “Grease.”

Even the technical things, like taking trams to each set to make sure the actors got there on time and the costumes changes, hair and make-up were interesting and amazing to me. The cast fought through the rain and got the job done.

The one thing that distracted me throughout the whole musical was the sound. At some points, it was hard for me to hear Tveit, Hough or any other soloist sing because the background vocals were overpowering them. If the sound wouldn’t have been such a distraction, “Grease: Live” would have been close to perfection.

According to eonline.com, the live musical production brought in 12.2 million views, with the demographic between 18-49 years old. This beats NBC’s live musical “The Wiz” by close to a million views and the live production of “Peter Pan” by almost two million views.

Overall, I would definitely watch “Grease: Live” over and over. Watching it made me actually want to participate in the production. I will definitely be getting this live version of the musical when it comes out on DVD.


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