When I first heard that they were planning to remake Grease for a live television event I admit I kinda cringed. Firstly Grease is one of my all time favourite movies and secondly Hollywood hasn’t had much success, in my opinion, when it comes to live TV remakes of classic musicals. First came Carrie Underwood’s train wreck of a remake of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Sound of Music and second came the equally bad rendition of Peter Pan, I didn’t even bother with The Wiz. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of watching Hollywood destroy Grease (like the sequels weren’t bad enough).
I finally sat down this evening and watch Grease: LIVE and I must say it was, almost, better than the original. The casting was perfect, admittedly it took me a bit to warm up to Aaron Tveit as Danny but his solid performance throughout did justice to the role once held by John Travolta. Casting Julianne Hough (Dancing With The Stars) as Sandy was brilliant, she looked the part, danced the part and boy did she ever sing the part. Taking on such a huge role performed so brilliantly by Olivia Newton John would, no doubt, be terrifying but Julianne handled it like it was a walk in the park. Other notable performances included Carly Rae Jepsen as Frenchy, the beauty school dropout, and an incredibly powerful (and emotional) portrayal of Rizzo by Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame. What made Hudgens performance all the more special was the fact that mere hours before the curtain rose on Grease: Live her father passed away, I don’t know about you but to go out and perform that soon after the passing of a loved one takes a ton of courage.
If you don’t watch Dancing With the Stars and didn’t watch the 2011 remake of Footloose you likely aren’t familiar with Julianne Hough. There’s an even better chance that you aren’t aware that she’s an award winning country artist (Top New Artist at 44th Annual ACMAs). Her self titled album, released in 2008, debuted at number 1 on the Top Country Albums chart and peaked at Number 3 on the Billboard 200. In 2010 the lead single, “Is That So Wrong“, to her follow up album Wildfire didn’t perform as expected causing the album to be put on hold. She was quoted in The Boot “When I have time to focus on it, and when I feel like it’s the right time, I’ll return to my music,” she said. Well Julianne I can’t think of a better time than now, a performance like that makes people pay attention.
If you haven’t watch Grease: LIVE I have one piece of advice for you, watch it and if you are in Canada, which most of you are, our friends at CTV are currently offering a webstream of the production here: http://www.ctv.ca/GreaseLIVE.aspx. As for Julianne, something tells me her album may see a sudden boost in sales now that the world knows her name!
Here’s a the cast of Grease: LIVE performing “Summer Nights”