Grease: Live was an ambitious endeavor- to broadcast a production of the acclaimed musical, completely in one shot, on live television.
The show had its hits and misses- its number one hit being Aaron Tveit, who played the too-cool-for-love bad boy, Danny Zuko, stole the show away in his singing, dancing and acting. Tveit’s prior repertoire on Broadway, and in film/television, gave him what he needed to come through in the role.
Playing Tveit’s love interest was Julianne Hough as Sandy, who excelled in her role as the goody-two shoes girl from Salt Lake City. Hough’s performance held its own against Tveit in her dancing and acting. While her singing lacked the proper “stage” quality known to most, she was able to keep up listening.
Although Tveit and Hough were able to hold their own against each other, the “Pink Ladies” lacked a sense of being comfortable in their role. Vanessa Hudgens’ portrayal of Rizzo only showed a small edge of the contempt needed for the role. She proved herself better than High School Musical at least, in voice and in acting.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s performance as Frenchy felt almost natural, but rarely were we able to see her truly shine in her role. A new song was written for her role in the show, that although her voice felt stale, was executed well. If there had been more time on her, the audience may have been able to see more of her talent.
In the role of the charismatic Marty Maraschino, was Keke Palmer, who has made it a long way from Nickelodeon, felt almost fake in her character. She seemed to have fun and was able to keep the audience interested in her, but there was almost an overdramatic feeling to the role. Aside from that, she played her role well and there were some good moments where she was able to shine through.
The T-Birds proved to be just as stiff as the Pink Ladies, aside from Jordan Fisher who played the role of Doody. The rest of the gang seemed to be comfortable with each other, but not with themselves, making scenes with them alone, uncomfortable.
Aside from the main cast, the shining star of the hour was Elle McLemore, who played the overbearing Patty Simcox. But overbearing was just right for the role, which she executed perfectly and with style.
The cast of Grease: Live was exhilarating to watch in that there were some very new spins on roles that have been around since the ‘70s. Having a wider range of people in the cast allowed a different, unique scope to a widely known classic musical.
The audience was able to see something executed very well, completely live, bringing Broadway to the homes of people all across America.