Beloved Teenage Musical Set in 1959 to Have One-Night TV Special
Grease the musical first premiered on Broadway in 1971, depicting the life of American high school students in 1959 on the brink of entering adulthood. The protagonist, Sandy Dumbrowski, is a beautiful but naïve young woman who transfers to Rydell High School, as has trouble fitting in with the cool kids – namely, the Pink Ladies and the Burger Palace Boys. However, she is fresh off a hot summer romance with one of these popular boys, Danny Zuko, which becomes the subject of teasing and fascination for the teenagers. Since its premiere in 1971, Grease has become a timeless classic that hits the heart of multiple generations, and its endurance was made resolute with the success of the 1978 film adaptation, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. The musical was since revived on Broadway in 1994 and again in 2007, in addition to being a popular favorite for regional, amateur, and school productions. Therefore, it is fitting that Fox has chosen Grease for their January 31st march into the market of live musical on television, a format that has proven successful with NBC’s recent productions of The Wiz, Peter Pan, and The Sound of Music.
The cast for Grease: Live is a very exciting selection of big names from pop music to Broadway and beyond. The lead part of Sandy, aka Sandra Dee, is played by Julianne Hough, who rose to fame as a two-time champion of Dancing with the Stars on ABC, and has served as a judge on the show since September 2014. Meanwhile, she also starred in the big budget film adaptation of Rock of Ages, in addition to other films such as Footloose and Burlesque. The role of Danny Zuko will be played by Aaron Tveit, who is well known for his Broadway lead roles as the original Gabe in Next to Normal and Frank Abagnale, Jr. in the Broadway rendition of Catch Me If You Can. He also had a part on the CW’s Gossip Girl, USA’s Graceland, and the 2012 film version of Les Misérables (he played Enjolras). The saucy part of Rizzo is played by Vanessa Hudgens, who became first known through the High School Musical series, but has also starred on Broadway in the recent revival of Gigi and in films such as Spring Breakers. A big star from the music scene, Carly Rae Jepsen, will be playing Frenchy; she is famous for her songs such as “Call Me Maybe” and “I Really Like You,” and has sold more than 20 million records globally. There are also rumored to be some famous adults in the show, such as Martin Short as Coach Calhoun, Ana Gasteyer as the school principal, and Mario Lopez as Vince Fontaine. Finally, the pop star part of Teen Angel is rumored to be played by Nick Jonas.
Pushed from Originally Planned Summer 2015 Premiere
When first announced, the Fox airing of Grease: Live was slated to play in summer 2015. However, the official word was that the roles were difficult to cast, and thus the premiere was pushed until January 31, 2016. The cast is rounding out to look excellently chosen after all, with further roles played by Keke Palmer as Marty, Carlos Penavega as Kenickie, Kether Donohue as Jan, and David Del Rio as Putzie. The show is slated to be a “re-imagining” of the classic, with star power bolstered this show to which you just can’t help singing along. Grease has a book, music, and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.