Numerous musicals have been brought to tv performances in the past years. NBC has taken Broadway to live TV performances of Peter Pan, The Sound of Music, and most recently, The Wiz. Fox tried their hand at the live musical theater on their network, and the three-hour production brought in the 2nd highest ratings for a musical- right after NBC's live performance of The Sound of Music.
"The Sound of Music" averaged 18.6 million viewers, and according to the Fox network, their first live musical averaged 12.2 million on Sunday's debut. A lot of fans tuning in to see how Aaron Tveit and Julianne Hough could fill the shoes of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in the 1978 musical movie. According to Nielsen ratings, the show drew a 4.3 rating in adults 18-49, compared to the 3.4 rating of "The Wiz Live," and the 4.6 rating for the 2013 live musical "The Sound of Music Live."
Critics, for the most part, were pleased and praised the technical aspects and production- saying that the show exceeded that of other live TV musicals.
Grease was trending on Twitter with "#GreaseLive," and many viewers on Facebook informed their friends that they were watching.
The cast and crew worked in front of a live audience of 650 people, across two sound stages, and also the Warner Bros. backlot. There were a total of twenty-one sets. This made the three-hour production the biggest television musical production so far.
There were obstacles to overcome, too. Rain during the opening number brought out umbrellas to dance with. At least they were prepared with red and white ones- the colors of Rydell High School. There was also some microphone static as Julianne Hough sang "Hopelessly Devoted to You." Those that saw the show during the live airing on the east coast probably heard the static, but producers and the tech team worked to clean it up by the time it showed on the west coast.
Vanessa Hudgens, who played the role of bad girl, Rizzo, was amazing in her performance- especially as she sang her solo,"There are Worse Things I Could Do." The thing that was most particularly amazing is that she had just lost her father the night before. He had passed away from Stage 4 cancer. They held a tribute to him at the end of the performance on Sunday. The fact that she was able to continue on with the show despite the tragedy earned her great respect, as messages of condolence and praise poured out to her on social media.
Some viewers were less than thrilled that this live version of their beloved musical didn't hold tightly to the original movie version. There were complaints of Boyz II Men ruining the "Beauty School Dropout" scene. At 8:31 p.m ET, the group held the most tweeted minute with 9,350 tweets. Others thought that the interracial dating and some of the hairstyles, such as the Mohawk on Joe Jonas didn't fit in with the 1959 period.
There were some other fun roles played by different stars. Eve Plumb(Jan from The Brady Bunch) played the shop teacher. Barry Pearl(the original Doody) was the Fontaine show producer, although not credited. Of course, Mario Lopez got into the action and put his own spin as Vince Fontaine. Some viewers caught that he called his show "American Bandstand" at one moment.
Altogether, Grease Live was a fun event, and if you haven't seen it, you should check it out. You can watch it on Fox.com, and see other behind the scenes goodies, too! Let us know what you thought in the comments below!