GREASE: LIVE is the word and the one that you want!

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Grease Live DVD

By: Patti & Chris Delloiacono

Chris: It's been kind of cool to see all the recent live theater productions on TV the last couple years. Unfortunately, as much as I love Broadway and musical films, PETER PAN, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE WIZ, etc, just aren't my thing. On the other hand, GREASE is one of my favorites. Now, I never saw it performed live, but John Travolta, Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing and the rest of the cast are icons that put on a performance that's been with me all my life.

Musicals are meant to be reimagined with new casts and staging, so seeing new people occupy the roles of Danny, Kenickie, Sandy, and Rizzo was was all good, if we got a new version of GREASE. Considering it was going on television, all I wanted to see was a young group of actors doing a great job at singing and dancing. There was no doubt the songs and the book for the show was a winner. Beyond anything else, the producers succeeded in casting, but they truly excelled at creating a spectacle unlike almost anything you've ever seen performed live.

It all began with Jessie J’s stunning rendition of the film’s opening credits song “Grease.” Some hate was directed the production’s way for including a song originated in the film, but come on, who doesn't like Frankie Valli’s amazing tune? Now, I'm not generally a fan of current pop music, but I love Jessie J. I own a couple of her albums, and find her lyrics inspirational and upbeat for the youth of our country. The film version had the song set to a pretty awesome animated sequence, but this one is 100% live action motion as Jessie walks backstage, meets up with all the cast, and takes us through many of the sets. Talk about setting the stage. Minute one, and I'm sold!

Patti: As like Chris, I grew up watching GREASE. I mean, seriously, John Travolta’s hips don’t lie. And who amongst us hasn’t belted out Olivia Newton-John’s “Hopelessly Devoted…” like we were on stage and our true love depended on it. Honestly, I wasn’t all that interested in watching the live showing of GREASE. Sure, it sounds fun, but the other three live performances were pretty boring and I was sure this would be just the same. I was wrong. I was hooked in immediately as well. And after spending quite a few minutes repeating, “Where do I know that actor from?” I was singing along.

I adored the cast overall. Aaron Tveit definitely has the singing skills, I should have expected that as I’ve seen LES MISERABLES many times and nobody can quite inspire a revolt like him. Everybody else in the world seems to know Julianne Hough from reality TV, but I’d never seen her before. Either way, they were great as Danny and Sandy. Tveit seemed to be trying to remember his dance steps much of the time and didn’t have quite the fluidity as his predecessor, but was still quite captivating. His voice more than made up for it. As for Hough, she was spot on! She had the whole package going on, the strength in her voice and the gracefulness of her moves. Hot damn! She portrayed the innocence and adorableness with ease. Vanessa Hudgens, one of Chris’s favorites, was stellar as Rizzo. She made Rizzo’s sass and generally tough demeanor alluring and natural. Despite the loss of her father the night before, Hudgens did a beautiful job illustrating the depth of Rizzo. It was also great seeing cameos from Didi Conn and Barry Pearl, as well as Mario Lopez sneaking in there and oddly enough, Joe Jonas with DNCE and Boyz II Men.

Chris: The film still features the better group overall, but I would say there were some parts where the cast actually exceeded their film counterparts. More importantly, almost everyone at least looked somewhat approaching a reasonable age to actually be in high school. The age of the cast is probably the silliest part of the GREASE film. Seriously, I love Stockard Channing, but age wise, she would probably have been better suited for a teacher role in the film. Nobody looked glaringly out of place in the high school setting of the Live production.

The other part I liked was how the cast featured a more diverse group of performers than the film. ‘50s America may not have been the most integrated place, but GREASE gives us a somewhat rosy look back on a classic decade. The mixture of people involved in the production, without any sign of racial disharmony, just cements why Grease is the word, and it's a place where only jerks don't live happily ever after.

There were so many beautiful dance numbers, but my favorite sequence was the dance party. You mentioned Joe Jonas’s band, who were surprisingly good setting the tone. I also loved the camera that was moving around on the floor and all the black and white visuals that helped bring the ‘50s vibe. And, seriously, who doesn't love some fabulous hand jive choreography?

Patti: Agreed…. Now go buy the movie and watch it!

Chris: But I already own it! Oh, you mean the readers! She's right, this is “The One That You Want!”

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0