Hopelessly devoted to Grease–just not “Live”


Courtesy of MCT Campus/FOX

Julianne Hough and Aaron Tveit are Sandy and Danny in “Grease: Live.”

by Elena Guardia, Reporter

On January 31st, 2016, the FOX television network aired a 140-minute production of Grease Live, a remake of the musical Grease, which became an instant classic after the first movie was released in 1978. The Broadway version of Grease opened in 1972. Under the direction of Thomas Kail and Alex Rudzinski, the remake followed the same plot line.  In my “greasy” opinion I’d say the changes are more bad than good. 

Taking place in the 1950s, Sandy and Danny have to say goodbye after a summer fling. The two heartbroken teens are unexpectedly reunited when Sandy transfers to Rydell High, where Danny is the leader of the T-birds, a group of popular greasers (guys who love working on cars–rule-breakers before modern gangs), and Sandy begins to hangout with the Pink Ladies, led by Rizzo. Sandy and Danny try all year to be together despite the differences in their cliques and personalities.

Grease Live made some changes from the movie version, but not all were for the best.

These changes include the addition of two Broadway Grease songs titled “Those Magic Changes” and “Freddie My Love.” In “Freddie My Love,” Marty (a Pink Lady) longs for her love who is serving overseas. The song drags on and the the production of this particular scene took away from the main focus of the story. It was an unnecessary addition.  It’s likely that’s why the song did not make the cut in the original movie.

The live audience had the best seats for the show. They were seated on stage and on screen. While the seating arrangement made sense for Sandy’s big cheerleading scene, it did not make sense for the rest of the movie. It was more of a distraction than a positive addition.

The female leads of this movie were powerhouse actresses. The lead female role of Sandy was originally played by Olivia Newton-John in the 1978 production. Julianne Huff blew the role away in the live TV production. Huff captured the innocence and excitement of Sandy’s character and was in tune to her character’s traits throughout the entire show.

Originally played by Stockard Channing, Rizzo was brought to life by Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens had the perfect amount of edge and sass for this role. Hudgens was an excellent Rizzo and completely dedicated to the character. Throughout the show, Hudgens carried herself with a tough aura, yet showed just the right amount of vulnerability that Rizzo is supposed to have.

Unfortunately, the “Greasers” of the live production did not live up to the legacy of the original movie. As a whole, they lacked edge. Leader of the Greasers, Danny Zuko (played by Aaron Tveit) did not give his character the spunk that John Travolta gave Danny in 1978. Tveit’s acting was not as good either; his reactions to situations in the show were too fast and unnatural. This took away from the believably of the show as a whole.

I do believe the show was a success: a whopping 12.2 people tuned in live to watch. Theater enthusiast and Grease fan, Jeremy Brown was one of those 12.2 million people. When asked why the show was so successful Brown said, “It’s a gimmick; having the show live creates an event that is a shared experience between the public.”

Overall, if you are not a huge musical fan, Grease Live will not change your mind. If you are a musical fan, and enjoy the classic story of Grease, Grease Live is worth the watch. While it was not as phenomenal as the original, the story line and All-American show was entertaining and sentimental.

If you missed viewing the live version, a recording is available on AppleTV and Hulu.