A live production of the musical Grease is premiering on FOX in 2015, according to an announcement from the network this week. Just to be clear, FOX wants its viewers to know that this will be a production of the actual musical and not a remake of the 1978 movie starring actors John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. This show will be a three hour-long live broadcast that is undoubtedly inspired by NBC’s live musical version of The Sound of Music, starring Carrie Underwood. NBC’s show, premiering in late 2013, received generally positive reviews and brought in a ton of money and viewership for the network.
The musical Grease has several differences from the famous movie version of the late 1970s. For instance, the supporting characters (in the movie version) play a much larger and more important role in the musical version of the show. The guys who are part of the T-Birds, Danny Zuko’s “gang,” all have bigger parts, and so do some other characters in the show who fans of the film might know to have more minor roles, such as some of the Pink Ladies, most of whom have their own solos in the musical. Needless to say, the Grease musical production features much more of a prominent ensemble cast, as many musicals do. The movie, on the other hand, focused more on the stories of its principal characters, so viewers tuning in next year to the 2015 live premiere of Grease on FOX can expect to see a difference in that area, and probably differences in other areas of the show as well.
Additionally, some of the hit songs that are commonly associated with Grease, such as “Sandy”, “Hopelessly Devoted”, and “The One That I Want”, were all actually written for the film version of the show, and did not originally appear in the musical. That being said, because of the popularity and fame of these songs, they have been added anyway to many stage productions of the musical. Also, the part of the show that “The One That I Want” would theoretically appear in comes at the end of Act I in the musical show, as opposed to the very end of the movie.
Since Grease is well known as a moderately raunchy production about high school students, many news outlets are already speculating about just how raunchy FOX will let this production get, being that it is a widely broadcast television program on a non-cable network. The original Grease film carried a PG-13 rating.
The show will premiere in 2015, next year, but no word has yet been announced from FOX on the casting of this live production of Grease. Many online publications, however, did not waste any time putting in their two cents about who they think are the best celebrity candidates to take on the roles of Danny, Sandy, Rizzo, Marty, Kenickie, and company. Some suggestions from TIME in an article published on Tuesday nominated Amanda Seyfried or Taylor Swift for Sandy, Zac Efron or Darren Criss from Glee for Danny, and Rihanna or Rebel Wilson for Rizzo. Some immediate vetoing of certain celebrities for parts in the musical also occurred, including Justin Bieber and Carly Ray Jepsen.
By Laura Clark