Fox’s first live T.V. musical, Grease: Live, collected rave reviews on social media and elsewhere. Even with an unexpected Los Angeles rain storm, technical glitches, and the death of a key cast member’s father, Grease: Live survived. The three-hour production was held on Jan. 31, 2016. The remarkable cast included Julianne Hough as Sandy, Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko, Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo, Keke Palmer as Marty, Carlos PenaVega as Kenickie, Carly Rae Jepsen as Frenchy, Mario Lopez as Vince Fontaine, Jordan Fisher as Doody, David Del Rio as Putzie, Joe Jonas as Johnny Casino, and many more. There were also guest appearances by the original Doody, played by Barry Pearl, and Didi Conn, who played the original Frenchy.
The live show takes place on twenty-one sets across two sound stages on the back lot at Warner Brothers studios in Burbank, California. What amazed most viewers was how well the production flowed. With all the costume and set changes, one can wonder how it was possible. Most actors changed their costumes while running and riding on golf carts to their next scene.
If the carnival set during the “We go Together” finale scene looks familiar, it is probably because you have seen it on T.V. before. The set that was used for Grease: Live is also frequently used in other TV and movie productions. The same set was used in the fictional Stars Hollow of Gilmore Girls and is still in use as Rosewood in Pretty Little Liars. Many reporters overheard people recognizing fake store fronts such as Luke’s diner from Gilmore Girls. The building used for Rydell High School’s exterior shots is also Rosewood High School in Pretty Little Liars.
Along with the tragic rainstorm throwing a curve ball at the production, other unexpected events occurred as well. Hudgens experienced a very bittersweet time in her life on Jan. 31, 2016. The live telecast had been hours away when she received very tragic news of her father’s death; her father died from stage four cancer. Of course this was very hard for Hudgens, but producers say she is a true entertainer and did not want to let anyone down.
While many critics believe it did not live up to the original, Grease: Live still proved to be a spectacular production even with major setbacks. The amount of positive and fun energy definitely showed through the performances. Not only did it stay true to the original movie and musical, but Grease: Live was unique and provided the audience with a fantastic story.