Whenever some hear that there will be a live musical on a major network, some think, “gosh this will be another rip-off.” From “Peter Pan” to “The Sound of Music,” despite strong ratings, these tacky performances fail to captivate. But in the case of “Grease: Live,” they were just amazing.
In case you are unfamiliar with the plot of “Grease,” two teenagers named Sandra and Danny have a romance that they think will only last for the summer. Instead of Sandra going back to Australia, where she is originally from, she moves to a new city and starts attending Danny’s school. Despite the summer romance, their reunion was not as happy as expected.
In the beginning of the musical, Jessie J comes out singing the opening song “Grease,” which was originally performed by Frankie Valli. Jessie J walks through the set interacting with the cast, bringing her spunk and charm to her performance. This energy was held strongly throughout the musical. In this adaptation, Sandra was played by Julianne Hough and Danny was played by Aaron Tveit. They perfectly captured the innocence and confusion of romance and passion.
In this current adaptation, the cast members who portray The Pink Ladies and the T Birds bring back the same attitude and charm that was laid-out by the original cast. KeKe Palmer’s portrayal of Marty Maraschino was quite memorable: her character was sassy, yet humorous at the same time.
Vanessa Hudgens’ portrayal of Rizzo was equally remarkable. Though I doubted her because of her typecast innocence and lack of ruggedness, she was amazing. Briefly before her performance, her father passed away, yet in her performance, she captivated the audience especially when she sang “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.” You could hear her sadness and emotion in this ballad, and even I shed a tear.
One surprising aspect of this adaptation was the humor throughout the show. Whether it was a slight jab or the occasional pun, it worked well. The live musical had many celebrity cameos from people like Mario Lopez as Vince Fontaine, Boyz II Men as the Teen Angels and even Joe Jonas and his band DNCE.
Throughout this two-hour-long performance, I was never bored. Even with the immensely complex choreography, the cast members looked like naturals and never messed up once. Their energy was inspiring. Each cast member did their characters and the original musical proud. Usually, I’m not a fan of musicals, but this one kicked butt.