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Grease Live post-show thoughts

Performances:

  • High marks for everyone. Even the stud-casting worked out in the end.
  • Big round of applause for Vanessa Hudgens. She pulled through and performed despite what’s happened.
  • Aaron Tveit. Just, Aaron Tveit.

Dancing:

  • Incredible. Had the high energy of a stage show, but the cinematography and the choreography of a movie.

Adapting from stage-(and film)-to-screen-(and small screen)

  • Tommy Kail really pulled through. He’s proven himself a great director of shows like Hamilton and In The Heights, and he’s somehow done what NBC couldn’t do––successfully stage a musical on live television.
  • Loved the inside jokes about live television and “amateurs dancing on TV.”
  • Interesting mash-up of the stage show and the film. Actually preferred this to both.

The low-points:

  • Not a fan of the new Frenchy song. It doesn’t fit the tone of the musical at all, and I thought it ground the whole thing to a halt. Carly Rae Jepsen was a surprisingly good actor throughout the show, but she really doesn’t have the musical theater singing voice. Actually, the song sounded suspiciously like Rihanna’s solo from “The Monster.”

The NBC comparison:
NBC’s musicals have definitely progressed from their lessons learned, with the Wiz Live being an improvement far beyond the god-awful Sound of Music Live. But Grease Live has set the bar for energy and performance. Perfectly-cast, great singing, and amazing direction.

I think most of the quality performance-wise came from the use of a live audience. It was just awkward to watch huge numbers in the NBC live musicals only to be met with complete silence as soon as the songs were over, or, worst of all, an AXE body wash commercial. Tommy Kail’s attempt at capturing “the energy of a theatrical production” really pulled off.

The other thing is that Grease Live was just better-directed. NBC filmed and choreographed their shows like they were just filming a stage show, but a big part of a stage musical is that you want an audience to be able to appreciate everything. Grease Live stuck to choreographing and showing off what it could on camera, plus some fairly impressive camerawork on its own.

Overall, Grease Live was an incredible televised event, and I look forward to what FOX has planned for next year…and I don’t say that often.