Grease Live - In Review
To say I have seen Grease before FOX's Live telecast would be an understatement. I have seen the original movie more times than is socially acceptable. And I have seen the staged production around 12 times. I also may or may not have acted out Grease 2 for my family for special occasions. So I am a LITTLE familiar with the show.
To be honest I wasn't planning on watching this rendition of the show. I was't too thrilled with some of the casting choices and didn't know if the show needed to be revisited again. Especially by FOX. It wasn't until the night before the broadcast that the ad popped up on my Facebook feed that I decided to at least give the 30 second spot a chance. In those 30 seconds the world shifted and suddenly I NEEDED to see Grease LIVE. Mostly because Boyz II Men were playing Teen Angel. But let's be honest one does not simply stop being a theatre person and it was silly of me to think my theatre soul didn't require me to view this. So I caved in and on Sunday night I tuned in and I didn't hate it. I didn't love it...OK I loved parts of it.
Things I loved-
1) They actually brought back some songs from the original musical. Including my favorite song from the original musical "Those Magic Changes." To anyone who watched the Sundays telecast they know that was a highlight of the show. Jordan Fisher owned that song and owned any second he was on the screen. The song being cut from the original movie made no sense to me. It is a show stopper and acted as much on Sunday night.
2) Ana Gasteyer was exquisite. Brought so much hilarity, sternness, and bubbling goodness to the show.
3) Did I mention that Boyz II Men were in it? That dream sequence DAMN. When the dancer just jumped into Boyz II Men's Wanya Morris' arms and wrapped her legs around his waist as he spun. Genius.
4) And I cannot believe I am even saying this but Vanessa Hudgen's was fan fucking tastic as my personal favorite character Rizzo. She has come a long way since her High School Musical days and I was impressed by her performance in Spring Breakers. (I previously rationalized that I was just won over by the Brittney Spears sequence) But now I think this girl has a talent for playing the bad girl. She was sly, mean, sexy as hell, but still had the power to kill one of those T Birds with just a look. Also props to this performer for giving a heartbreaking, powerhouse performance despite an awful personal loss just the night before the taping.
5) Those camera men where fantastic. The direction and creativity of the movement made the Live experience work well. We felt like we were walking down the halls of Rydell High right there with the Pink Ladies.
Things that drove me insane-
1) Ok I love me some Aaron Trevit. I am still bitter he didn't get a Tony nom for Next to Normal and I was most looking forward to seeing him take on this iconic role and get even more well deserved exposure. However there was something off about his Danny performance, and I don't think that it was Aaron's fault. No he wouldn't do that to me and the rest of the world. The problems with Danny can be summed up with the fact that what we saw in that show was not the Danny Zucko I grew up with. No. This Danny was FOX's "good guy" Danny. They added moments where the character supported, spoke up for and even defended others wich is very out of character and stupid. Danny is Mr. Cool guy and can at times be an asshole. But he is sexy, cool, mysoginistic and hey it's the 50's so that makes it even sexier. So thanks Fox and the "screenwriter" for ruining this generations Danny. Don't dumb down your leads for your audience. Jim Jacob's and Warren Casey didn't. So neither should you.
Also what was going on with his hair? Seriously though it terrorfied me.
2) What the hell was Frenchy's new song before "Teen Angel"? Was it in Carly's contract that they had to add a song to a songless character? This seems to be the only answer I could come up with. But why add a song that was obviously out of place? Why put a song in that was clearly written for contemporary times? Why didn't you give her a song from the original show that you didn't use? Why let that bitch sing at all? These are my questions Fox. WHY DID YOU MAKE ME WATCH THAT SONG BEFORE THE BLESSED BOYZ II MEN EVENT? WHYYYY?
3) Why did they not perform the entire tail end of the show in the carnival set they had? Why did they just do half of "We go together" there? You should have had the whole carnival sequence there on the carnival set with a giant ferris wheel instead of having Kenekie call out Rizzo for hula hooping with a bun in the oven. Which didn't make any sense!
Better question why on earth would you have the entire cast drive their carts to the carnival location? That doesn't seem safe! They can't sing, drive, act and dance all at the same time without running over a security guy. That entire cart ride I was sitting there thinking- what the fuck is going on? is this safe/legal? And then the second cart definitely went over a curb and jolted all of the cast members within. Good job guys.
4) The fact that they made an R rated sex teen comedy into something that Disney could have puked up. This just pissed me off. They changed key lyrics of songs so that 8 year olds wouldn't have to ask their mom what "creaming" meant. But if you are going to go in and take out the parts of the show that made it stand out, what made it daring, special and controversial then why should you do the show at all? I dare any network to have the balls to do the actual staged production. I want mooning, I want the hilarious fake Rydell Alma Mater. Alone at a Drive in Movie with Danny. I want All Choked Up. And for Christ's sake let Kenickie sing "Greased Lightning," it's just rude to take the man's only song away. Basically just do the show the way it supposed to be done, and I will be fine.
Regardless I didn't hate it. It was entertaining, well preformed, expertly choreographed from the camera moves to the hand jive. I just want to see the non PG version thank you very much.
Here Fox Network's midseason premieres:
Friday, Feb. 5 - Sleepy Hollow at 9 p.m. EST
Monday, Feb. 29 - Gotham at 8 p.m. EST
Wednesday, March 2 - Rosewood at 8 p.m. EST
Wednesday, March 30 - Empire at 9 p.m. EST