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Grease: Live

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Grease Live poster
Written by
Robert Cary
Jonathan Tolins
Directed by
Thomas Kail
Alex Rudzinski
Country of origin
United States of America
Executive producer(s)
Marc Platt
Producer(s)
Greg Sills
Adam Siegel
Location(s)
Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, California
Running time
180 minutes
Production company(s)
Paramount Television
Marc Platt Productions
Original network
FOX
Original release
January 31, 2016

Grease: Live was a television special originally broadcast by Fox on January 31, 2016. It was a live, televised adaptation of the 1971 musical Grease, produced by Marc Platt, directed by Thomas Kail.

HistoryEdit

Retrieved from wikipedia

Announcement and casting Edit

On April 28, 2014, Fox announced that it had partnered with Paramount Television to produce a live, three-hour televised adaptation of the 1971 musical Grease in 2015. The move came in the wake of similar live musical adaptations that had been produced by NBC, such as The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!.

On January 17, 2015, Fox officially announced that Julianne Hough had been cast as Sandy, and that the special would air on January 31, 2016. Entertainment Weekly reported that the special had been delayed from its original target of Summer 2015 due to difficulties in the casting process. On May 28, 2015, it was announced that Keke Palmer would join the broadcast as Marty Maraschino, one of the Pink Ladies. On July 9, it was announced that Aaron Tveit would star as Danny Zuko in the live TV broadcast, and Carlos PenaVega would play the role of Kenickie.On September 30, 2015, it was announced that Carly Rae Jepsen, Kether Donohue, and David Del Rio would play Frenchy, Jan, and Putzie, respectively. On November 6, it was announced that Jordan Fisher, Andrew Call and Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer would join the cast as Doody, Sonny and Cha-Cha, respectively.

Production Edit

Retrieved from wikiapedia
Director Thomas Kail envisioned Grease: Live as being a "combination" of elements from the original musical and the 1978 film version of Grease. For instance, the production incorporated songs that were created for the film version, such as a cover of its theme song performed by Jessie J, "You're the One That I Want", and "Hopelessly Devoted to You", as well as songs that were exclusive to the stage version, such as "Freddy, My Love", ""Raining on Prom Night", and "Those Magic Changes". Kail explained that

"very early on as I started imagining what this could be, talking to Marc Platt, our executive producer, and the folks at Paramount, one of the things we really were very focused on was trying to capture the spirit of both the original companies of Grease and that film that has left such an indelible impression on all of us. To try to honor that and pay homage to something that has moved us and we have such a great affection for, and then try to make our own version of it."

The production also contained several new songs; "All I Need Is an Angel" was written for the character of Frenchy (Carly Rae Jepsen) by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey of Next to Normal fame. Joe Jonas's band DNCE made a cameo appearance as Johnny Casino and The Gamblers during the Rydell High dance; in addition to "Born to Hand Jive" and "Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay", the band also performed The Crickets' "Maybe Baby", as well as a 1950's-inspired arrangement of their own debut single "Cake by the Ocean". In an interview with Rolling Stone, Jonas explained that the band was approached by the producers for the role following a concert they had performed in New York City.

Grease: Live was broadcast from Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, using two soundstages as well as an outdoor area on its backlot. Set designer David Korins explained that the medium of a live, television musical would "really show off what theater does best, and also what film and television does best", having constructed a self-contained "cafegymatorium" set that is designed to provide an "immersive", 360-degree experience, as well as traditional theatrical-style stagings. Grease: Live was presented to live studio audiences at each of the three filming locations, who were also directly integrated into relevant scenes as extras on-stage, such as in crowds. Kail explained that he wanted to capture the "feeling" of the audiences at live stage productions, as there was "an energy and an undeniable vitality that real humans give back to real humans that are performing". The Hollywood Reporter believed that the use of live audiences would help to stylistically distinguish Grease: Live from the NBC live musicals that it was patterned after.

Weather issues Edit

Retrieved from wikiapedia
The use of outdoor sets for portions of the production led to concerns that it could be affected by weather, especially in the wake of forecasts calling for a 100% chance of precipitation and possible thunderstorms on the day of the telecast. Kail stated that the production did have contingency plans in the event of rain, while Platt stated that his team had considered the possibility of rain into its plans for "many months", and that while safety was the highest priority, the show would still go on, rain or shine.

While prepared for the possibility of rain, wind was also a major factor: at around 3:00p.m. PT, an hour before the telecast went live, Platt was informed that a particular structure on the outdoor set could not be used for safety reasons. By 3:40p.m. PT, while the team was in the process of re-staging the opening number to exclude the structure, the rain and wind passed, and engineers cleared the use of the structure—allowing a return to the original staging. The opening of the broadcast would ultimately feature references to the conditions: emcee Mario Lopez jokingly introduced "El Niño" as being a "special guest", while the opening number, "Grease (Is the Word)", was performed with the cast also holding umbrellas.

Death of Greg Hudgens Edit

Retrieved from wikiapedia
On the day of the broadcast, Vanessa Hudgens announced on Twitter that her father, Greg, had died from cancer the night before, and that she would dedicate her performance in Grease: Live to his memory. Platt told Entertainment Weekly that he was

"fiercely proud" of Hudgens' handling of the situation, describing her as a "very determined young woman" who "knows that the show has to go on, as any actor of the theater or in a live event knows. So she decided she would take her feelings of loss and sadness and put them in a box for that afternoon, that she would use them to fuel her performance and she would do it in honor of her father."
Additionally, Fox and Paramount allowed the production to be dedicated in memory of Greg; Platt went on to say that
"the cast was behind her and we all joined hands and said, 'We're going to live in this moment. Sometimes life interferes. But you have all worked so hard for this moment and we're going to go for it."

CastEdit

Grease Live Cast

Retrieved from wikipedia

MainEdit

EnsembleEdit

Retrieved from wikiapedia

  • Carly Bracco
  • Gregory Haney
  • Harley Jay
  • Chris Meissner
  • Tiana Okoye
  • Kayla Parker
  • Dominic Pierson
  • Cailan Rose

DancersEdit

Retrieved from wikiapedia

  • Nick Baga
  • Karen Chuang
  • Janaya French
  • Courtney Galiano
  • Marko Germar
  • Jeremy Hudson
  • KC Monnie
  • Haylee Roderick
  • Brooke Shepherd
  • Ade Chike Torbert

Musical numbersEdit

Retrieved from Playbill

  • Grease (Is the Word) – Jessie J and Ensemble
  • Alma Mater – Principal McGee, Blanche, and Ensemble
  • Summer Nights – Sandy, Danny, Pink Ladies, T-Birds, and Ensemble
  • Rydell Fight Song/Cheerleading Tryouts – Patty, Sandy, and Ensemble
  • Summer Nights (Reprise) – Sandy and Danny
  • Freddy, My Love – Marty and Pink Ladies
  • Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee – Rizzo and Pink Ladies
  • Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise) – Sandy
  • Greased Lightnin' – Danny, Kenickie, T-Birds and Male Ensemble
  • Those Magic Changes – Doody, Danny, and Female Ensemble
  • All I Need Is an Angel – Frenchy
  • Beauty School Dropout – Teen Angel and Female Ensemble
  • Rock 'n Roll Party Queen – Johnny Casino and The Gamblers
  • Rock 'n Roll Is Here to Stay – Johnny Casino and The Gamblers
  • Cake by the Ocean – Johnny Casino and The Gamblers
  • Maybe Baby – Johnny Casino and The Gamblers
  • Born to Hand-Jive – Johnny Casino and The Gamblers, Pink Ladies, T-Birds, and Ensemble
  • Mooning – Johnny Casino and The Gamblers
  • Hopelessly Devoted to You – Sandy
  • Sandy – Danny
  • There Are Worse Things I Could Do – Rizzo
  • Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise) – Sandy
  • You're the One That I Want – Sandy, Danny, and Ensemble
  • We Go Together* – Sandy, Danny, and Ensemble

Reception Edit

Retrieved from wikiapedia
Grease: Live received mostly positive reviews. Megan Vick of TVGuide.com felt that Kail had

"upped the standard" for live television musicals, and had "successfully managed to combine all the nostalgic elements of Grease that everyone expected while creating a new experience. The set changes and scale of what they were able to accomplish—in a rainstorm no less—were incredibly impressive. Grease is the word, and ratings most likely will be too."
While praising "All I Need Is an Angel" for demonstrating Carly Rae Jepsen's capabilities as a singer, Vick felt that the song was too "modern".

Jeremmy Gerald of Deadline Hollywood noted that Grease: Live was broadcast

"with nary a hitch and one last-minute change in the out-of-doors opening number that paid tribute to the greatest movie musical of all time, Singin' in the Rain". Acknowledging that none of NBC's live musicals had "hit the stratospheric highs of this show", aspects of the production were praised, such as the live audiences and stage design. Vanessa Hudgens was judged to have "stolen" the show, and that Aaron Tveit and Julianne Hough "couldn't be better matched as the head of the T Birds and the sweet new girl from Utah." In conclusion, Gerald felt that he had "never seen a more inventive interplay between a show and just enough of the mechanics of the deal to make it all the more engaging. That, and the audience that played its essential part in moving Grease Live along with enthusiastic applause replacing the dead air that followed key moments in the earlier live broadcasts, set a new standard for this kind of presentation that will be tough to top."

Variety´s Maureen Ryan felt that the performance of Hough and Tveit was weak, explaining that

"when Danny has all the presence of a glass of milk and even the black-clad Sandy of the final scenes exudes all the sexual danger of a church choir director, well, rest assured that those concerned about the Grease legacies of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John have nothing to worry about."
Despite this and other shortcomings, such as audio issues during "Hopelessly Devoted to You", and the "surreality" of the audience's presence in certain scenes, Ryan felt Grease: Live got
"most of the big things right", and that "by incorporating a live audience, using creative staging and employing energetic camera work", the production "boasted an impressive sense of momentum and even spontaneity."
Of the individual performances, Ryan praised Keke Palmer's, Hudgens', and Carly Rae Jepsen's vocal performances, Elle McLemore's
"simply terrific" Patty, Kether Donahue's "infectous joy", and Ana Gasteyer's "beautifully droll timing" as Principal McGee. She concluded that "If Fox can get the lead casting right in future and snag Kail again, audiences will surely be hopelessly devoted to the network’s next live endeavor."

Writing in USA Today, Robert Bianco noted various positive and negative aspects of the broadcast. While he praised performances by the supporting cast, he lamented

"the progressive dumbing-down of the material. A Broadway musical that originally spoofed our rose-tinted-glasses view of the '50s has turned into a nostalgic wallow, leaving the show with an odd mix of tones – and in this particular version, a book that sometimes seemed to get lost between songs and inside jokes. ... it was often so flatly acted" that the "kinetic", "visually impressive" musical numbers came as a "much-needed relief". Nevertheless, he felt that the production "sprang to life at the end."

Ratings Edit

Retrieved from wikiapedia
Grease: Live was seen by 12.18 million viewers, with a 4.3/13 share in the 18-49 demographic, making it the most-watched program of the night. The special brought Fox its best ratings of the 2015-16 television season since the second season premiere of Empire in September 2015, which was seen by 16.18 million viewers. The overall and demographic ratings also beat NBC's December 2015 presentation of The Wiz Live!, with 6% higher viewership overall, and 30% higher 18-49 ratings. While both competed against NFL games, The Wiz competed against a regular-season primetime game on CBS, and Grease against the Pro Bowl on ESPN. Over 1.2 million Twitter posts were made throughout the airing, with most providing condolences for Hudgens' father.

TiVo Inc. estimated that Hudgens' solo of "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" was the most replayed scene of the special.

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