Fox may have officially become too cool for school. The landmark television broadcast channel may have landed another really, big fish, that is if they cast it properly. Sometime this year, the network will be airing the highly revered and most favorite high school musical of all time, Grease. The song and dance 50’s coming-of-age saga will broadcast live during a three-hour re-interpretation of the 1971 Broadway classic from Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs. Grease:Live, promoted by Paramount Television, will re-establish the musical’s relevancy once again by adopting a young and vibrant cast, which will highlight today’s most talented young actors highlighting a 40-year-old classic tale.
Of course, the immediate question is who will be cast to honor the iconic roles from the 1978 smash, starring such unforgettable as Olivia Newton John, John Travolta, and Stockyard Channing. Those who fell in love with the film as children of the 80s will have a hard time putting new faces to the roles of Sandy, Danny, Rizzo, and Kenickie, but murmurs of people’s favorite picks are already bubbling to the surface. A series of websites are taking polls to establish the best talents vying for the crowns.
Many are hoping for Taylor Swift, Kristen Bell, or Dianna Argon for the hopelessly blonde and wholesome-turned-sex-kitten Sandy. Swift is a no-brainer with her long set of svelte pins and easy-going entertainer personality. She could turn on the Sandy in a heat beat, and break a couple of hearts while she is at it. Bell, the Veronica Mars heroine, has proven she has got a stellar set of pipes during her performance as Anna in Disney’s Frozen, plus her charming wit and Daddy’s good-girl schtick is both perfect and endearing. Fox would not have to look far to nab its very own network high school good-girl-blonde gone-bad. Argon has the look, the voice, and the ability to make one root for her no matter what. Quite a list of sweethearts and hard-working female leads.
Zac Efron, as well as Darren Criss–another obvious Glee star nod–are receiving popular enthusiasm to take on the demands of Grease Lightning and the Danny Zuko strut. Efron has already established himself as a high school musical been-there-done-that, but that does not mean he would not bring a new kind of hip shake to a pair of Zuko’s Levi’s. For some, he may be too much of a pretty boy to pull off the rugged testosterone Travolta brought to the character, but he has demonstrated demonstrably that he has no problem making the ladies swoon. Criss may actually be a better choice for Zuko, do to his soft yet handsome mug, his wide shoulders, and domineering stance. Plus, the boy can sing anything. Absolutely anything. It is not to hard to imagine Criss swinging on the playground singing and crying out his heartbreak simultaneously. Nick Jonas is another name thrown around for the male lead. He has the momma-boy thing on his side, a load of stage presence, and the smoldering look of a trickster that can nail a great head shot.
What tough girl can pull off the fierce-hearted Rizzo? Will it be the multi-faceted orphan Tatiana Maslany? Vampire Diaries tempestuous Kat Graham? Or the delightfully mysterious Lorde? All in contention have an easily depicted dark side, but do any have enough flare to spark the intensity necessary for Pink Ladies’ best bully Rizzo? No wispy thing will do trying to fill those wit-heavy shoes.
The last of the main characters to properly choose from today’s host of overly talented young actors is the ne’er-do-well, Zuko’s body guard and best bud, Kenickie. Kenickie was originally played by Jeff Conaway. Who can match that pompador? Most notable may be everyone’s favorite, even if disenchanted, wizard and hero, Daniel Radcliffe. We all learned there is a bad boy beneath the lightning bolt scar, and he has exhibited he can also carry a note into the rafters during his Broadway performances. Aaron Tveit is also a fabulous contender. E! said they would watch the boy sing a phonebook, so singing the catchiest lyrics of all time would make his portrayal as Kenickie smooth as butter. However, to be fair, why not just re-unite Cordin Bleu with Efron, and call it the end to another day in high school musical history?
Shana C. Waterman, senior VP of event series for Fox, says the network is eager to bring this generation’s production to the stage and cannot wait to air the event. “Its iconic characters and addictive songs make it the perfect fit for Fox, and we’re going to give it the kind of star power and production quality to make every Sandy, Danny, Rizzo and Kenickie out there want to get up and sing along.” No matter what the final word will be on the cast for Grease:Live, millions will be sure to watch today’s most talented young actors to discover who really was born to hand-jive.
Opinion by Stacy Feder