From Marc Platt (“Wicked,” “Into the Woods”) Thomas Kail (“Hamilton,” “In the Heights”) and Alex Rudzinski (“Dancing with the Stars”) comes the DVD release of Grease Live! Starring Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Hudgens, Keke Palmer and Carlos PenaVega, the home release is available to own March 8, 2016.
In this live television adaptation of the musical classic, the beginning of senior year means the end of Danny (Aaron Tveit) and Sandy’s summer romance – until Sandy (Julianne Hough) unexpectedly transfers to Danny’s high school. Can Danny maintain his bad-boy image as the coolest member of the T-Birds, once he and Sandy start going together, and can Sandy remain a good girl after she joins the Pink Ladies? With their friends Rizzo (Vanessa Hudgens) and Kenickie (Carlos PenaVega) pulling them in different directions, it’s up to Danny and Sandy to stay hopelessly devoted as they make their way from Rydell High to a new frontier.
I didn’t catch Grease Live when it was well… Live. I had no interest but when I found out I could watch the DVD and see the entire Broadway show straight through for only 2 hours and not the 6 hours it took with commercials (maybe I’m exaggerating there…) when it was shown on live TV — I thought why the hell not? I liked that old Grease movie sorta. I’m not a big musical guy, but I can appreciate them. I love Sweeney Todd and The Book of Mormon but both of those are intended for mature audiences. Grease — well, it can get a little sketchy at times. Those leather jacketed sex crazed teens who try to have sex with other sex crazed teens wearing pink leather jackets – hey, that’s a little mature right? Grease was American Pie decades before Jason Biggs was having sex with his dessert.
The cast for Grease Live was fantastic – Newcomer Aaron Tveit was really, really good as the lead Danny. I could take or leave Julianne Hough as Sandy, but that’s also because I never really liked that character to begin with. Goody-two-shoes. She doesn’t understand man – she doesn’t know what it’s like to be a rebel with a cool jacket. I’ll give props to Vanessa Hudgens as well for even performing considering her father had just passed right before the production aired. Her portrayal of Rizzo was spot-on. Every castmember was perfectly represented so if you’re a fan of the original, you can’t deny this version of the show.
Marc Platt and Thomas Kail did a terrific job bringing Grease to a new era of music fans and I will applaud Alex Rudzinski because the dance choreography was truly wonderful as well. I did have some issues with the lyric changes. I waited the whole show to hear Danny blast out “PUSSY WAGON” and I think he wound up singing “Bangin Wagon” instead. The hell is that? You can have dance moves where you shove a chick’s head directly into your groin but you can’t yell “Pussy Wagon” on live TV? Double standards…..
The DVD release was loaded as well and I was surprised to see so many features considering a made-for-TV production’s home release rarely gets this much attention. But if you wanted to check out some great behind-the-scenes segments, Grease Live has them. To have a two-plus hour live production where anything can go wrong – dudes could fall off that car face first into some other dude’s ass while singing “Grease Lightning” – a Pink Lady could cut a fart – anything! It happens. But I was pleasantly surprised to see VERY LITTLE errors. No farts or nose dives into the cement to be found – Grease Live was executed near perfectly. And I know – because when I watch something like this – I can’t help but to actually be looking for them to fail. It’s just a sick thing that I do as a human being.
I was a casual Grease fan growing up. I watched the movie when I was younger and then I grew tired of the songs. That being said, Grease Live is worth your time if you REALLY liked the original film or Broadway show. They busted their asses to bring you quite the spectacle and in my opinion – best of the new Broadway Live TV re-introductions so far of the past couple years.
- Live television production
- Without a Net: Performing Grease: Live”
- Becoming the “T-Birds” and Pink Ladies
- Greasin’ up the Joint
- Be-Bop, Swing and Jitterbug: The Choreography of “Grease: Live”
- When Was Your First…?
- My Favorite “Grease” Moment