The word on “Grease: Live”: It’s electrifying.
Fox’s live TV musical overcame technical glitches, a rare Los Angeles rainstorm and the death of a key cast member’s father to score rave reviews on social media and elsewhere.
“This production wasn’t about hitting notes or taking breath, but rather about making things breathtaking. And time after time, ‘Grease: Live’ succeeded,” wrote Daniel Fienberg in The Hollywood Reporter.
“In this moment overrun with must-see TV events, Grease wasn’t just live. It was alive,” gushed Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich.
Some other critics were less kind, citing the sometimes-clunky acting between the big musical numbers. But in the court of popular opinion — Facebook and Twitter — the show was a worthy successor to the classic John Travolta-Olivia Newton-John movie.
Viewers praised the show’s often-complex staging, the “Hand Jive” dance-contest sequence and a touching scene in which new Frenchy (Carly Rae Jepsen) gets career advice from old Frenchy (Didi Conn, from the 1978 movie, playing a waitress this time).
And they really loved Vanessa Hudgens, who gave a brave performance as tough-talking Rizzo only hours after her father, Greg Hudgens, died of cancer. Fox paid tribute to him during the closing credits.
The ambitious three-hour production will almost certainly score high ratings for Fox and encourage networks to develop more musicals for live television.
By Brandon Griggs