Full Disclosure:

I used to love musicals.  When I was a kid, my mother had us watch all the classics and I ate them up.  After several failed years of extracurricular sporty activities like ballet and gymnastics, my mom finally put me in theater classes and it stuck.  Then, at some point in my 20’s, everything shifted and I started to HATE musicals.  Even ones that I once loved.  Here’s a sentence my once-musical-lovin-self actually said in my 20’s- “Jesus.  I forgot that all they do is fucking sing in this” (I said this regarding Rent, a show whose soundtrack I listened to over and over again when I had a corneal infection in my left eye for a week in the 9th grade).  So I get that I am not currently the target audience for the network productions of live musicals, but I have enough background to know the shows.

I hated Sound of Music, I hated Peter Pan even more, and I didn’t get around to watching The Wiz because contrary to my DVR season subscriptions, I actually have a low threshold for punishment.  But a little birdy (my sister Alex) told me this one was good.  Now, Alex works in theater management so this sort of stuff IS made for her.  But she is, at her core, a snarky-ass bitch devoid of wonderment.  AKA, I trust her.

This is not a typical #10Thoughts because there was no way to whittle it down to that so I just typed up my thoughts as they came.  Consider this more of a read-along guide.  Here goes….

Damn. The opener was awesome. Already miles better than any of the NBC live musicals. Jessie J kicked ass. Very smart production-wise to use that song going through the sets and past the characters.


Love that it’s indoor/outdoor.  Slightly disappointed that there may not be as much to mock here although holding out hopes that Vanessa Hudgens is as bad a casting choice as I think.
The set reminds me of boy meets world’s John Adam’s High.

Ana Gasteyer!!!!  Yaaaaaassss. Now I desperately want a Will Ferrell cameo.

Carly Rae Jepsen looks just a young Molly Ringwald and it’s endearing me to her

Ugh. These clothes make me green with envy. I was born in the wrong decade.

I’m missing the Australian accent on Sandy but I guess it’s not necessary to plot. I saw the Broadway production of The Lion King when I was in London as a 16 year old and it weirded me out that they all had British accents.  Which of course makes no sense since, you know, it’s set in Africa and most Africans don’t sound like Jonathan Taylor Thomas or Matthew Broderick. Julienne Hough has a really nice sweetness to her voice.

Patty Simcox! Excellent casting in Elle McLemore (Army Wives). Girl is rockin it.  Keke Palmer as Marty is great casting as well.  I’ve loved her since her (way too short) time as Coral in Masters of Sex.

Summer Lovin is the best song in this show and they’re doing a really good job. Update- not hating VHudge as much as I want to. Julianne Hough is also impressing me. She doesn’t have the acting chops of, say, Carrie Underwood… But a really nice performance.

I’m coveting all of the eyewear. Again. Born in the wrong era.

Uhhhh, you guys….  Coach Calhoun is Bunk from The Wire. Casting in this show is so much better I than previously thought.

Dammit.  I’m pleasantly surprised by VHudge as Rizzo.  The wig looks bomb on her.  Plus her dad died the same day as this performance so she gets a million props from me for even showing up.  I wonder who her understudy was….

Impressive costume and set change during Freddy My Love.  I’m really sorry guys.  This is really good so far and even my usual distaste for musicals isn’t helping me out with the snark.  The acting performances are good.  The musicals numbers are good.  The addition of a live audience is a really smart move by FOX.

Okay if Lifetime ever makes a move about the Brat Pack, Carly Rae better get cast as Molly.

VHudge doesn’t have the same BadAssBitchness of Stockard Channing and she still looks like a Disney kid to me but much to my chagrin, she’s doing a good job.

Only a third of the way through.  I forgot how long this show is.  Plus my DVR got messed up and I’m having to watch this OnDemand with commercials like a god damn peasant

Here’s a criticism!  Ready?  I’m pumped.  Here goes: I don’t like all the close ups during Greased Lightning.  It takes away from the impressive stage work.  Yep.  That’s it so far.

Didi Conn is Vi!  I love that she is in this.  Do you guys remember Shining Time Station?  I love Didi Conn.

Jordan Fisher is officially my new crush.  He plays Doody and he is…in a word, perfection.  I never watched the Teen Beach movies (for obvious reasons) but clearly I was missing out.  I promise you this right now, he will be the big breakaway star from this.  He is gorgeous and his voice is incredible.  As the brilliant artist J.Lo likes to say, “he’s giving me goosies!”  Jesus.  Dude is awesome.

All of my close friends should know that I would literally sell all of them out for access to Sandy’s wardrobe.  My loyalties run very shallow.

So I am now officially ignoring every other character when Jordan Fisher is on stage.  Even when he says nothing and sits in the background.

Question- do you think they named the character Kenickie just so that they could use the phrase “a hickey from Kenickie”?

God dammit you guys.  This is good.  This is really good and I want all of the props and costumes and the cast is good and the music is good and the live audience is good and dammit you guys.  So little to mock…

OOOOoooo boy. I may have spoken too soon.  Carly Rae, you might make an excellent Molly Ringwald but you my dear are the weak link vocally.  She is flat-tastic.  Ouch.  “All I need is an Angel” is a pretty boring new song to begin with, but that performance brought nothing to it.  And with the pink hair, she looks less like Molly Ringwald so this is definitely the first real dip in the show.

WHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT Boys II Men as Teen Angel!!!????!!!!???!!!!  And we are back up!  Oh man.  Elementary School Me is FREAKING OUT.  This was an awesomely fun casting move.

And that right there is the biggest problem with the NBC musicals verses the FOX ones.  NBC takes this way too seriously.  FOX is having fun.  And as a result, we in the audience are having fun.  NBC’s idea of fun was putting Carrie Underwood in as Maria.  That decision, I think we can all agree, was fun for no one.

Hmmm…not crazy about Joe Jonas as Johnny Casino.  His voice doesn’t quite have that 50s quality.

Did everyone really know how to dance in the 50s or is that a movie lie?

FUCK.  I want Rizzo’s dance dress.  I mean, I would settle for literally any of the dresses, but that’s my preference.

Ah yes,  Mario Lopez as Vince Fontaine.  Did he even need to audition, or was his tenure on Saved by the Bell and such tv movie classics like Husband for Hire and The Dog Who Saved Easter enough for central casting that he just got an offer on the spot?

Oh, ew.  AC Slater hitting on Marty is gross.  He’s like…40 now.  I mean his skin is like a baby’s ass, but he is old.

I just checked and he is 42.  8 points to me for my very close guess.  In my efforts to look up this info, I found out that he was married to Ali Landry for less than a year in 2004.  How did I not know about that? Making a note to self to look up that story later…

I wonder when Joe Jonas will actually be able to grow a mustache.  He gets a gold star from me for continuing to try.

Born to hand jive is just a fucking good time.  You can tell everyone involved is having fun.  I can’t express enough how much better this is than the NBC shows.  Huge smile on my face during this scene and not because of a man in a weird crocodile suit crawling on stage #NeverForget.

Aaron Tveit is killing this dance number.  He’s making me forget about John Travolta.  Which is hard for me to do because my mother’s favorite movie is Phenomenon and she makes us watch it on her birthday every year.

Sandy is a pretty one-dimensional character but J.Hough is doing a nice job.  And her voice on Hopelessly Devoted is better than I expected it to be.  Olivia Newton-John is and has always been my spirit animal (#LetsGetPhysical), but I’m enjoying this performance.  It’s sweet.  Wonder how that will work for the big transformation later, but I’m not anticipating a disaster.  Sadly…since it’s sort of my job here to mock this.

Sandy has mad cleavage during the drive-in scene.  This is a missed step by costuming.  But a delight for audiences.  This will come as a shock to no one, but I want her dress.  DAMN YOU 1985 BIRTH YEAR.

Aaron Tveit’s voice is beautiful but doesn’t quite have the achy quality of John Travolta’s and I haven’t noticed it til the stranded at the drive-in scene.  Especially during the Why-E-eye-E-eye parts.

Seriously…did FOX spend more money than NBC or something?  We are talking MILES better.

I meant to mention this earlier, but Mrs. Murdock (the auto shop teacher) is played by Eve Plumb.  Better known as Jan Brady.  JAN BRADY.  Best. Casting. Ever.

Time for the Big VHudge test.  “There are worse things I could do”

Dammit.  This isn’t bad either.  Again, she isn’t quite the BadBitch that Stockard was, but it’s a good job and I can’t think of someone off the top of my head who would be better.  Wait.  Yes I can.  Naya Rivera.  But still.  This is good.

Robert Michael Anderson’s portrayal of Scorpion is missing the classic facial pockmarks.  There, see?  Another criticism.  HA.  Take that, FOX.

Decent camera work to make the race look like a race.  Hard to do on a stage production in general.  I mean, it looks hokey, but I can’t think of anything they could have done better. Wait.  Yes I can.  Naya Rivera.

Small aside- I like that J.Hough has been wearing flats for most of the show.  You know that dancing queen knows how to wear heels but it makes more sense for the character to wear flats.

Ana Gasteyer’s brooch game is on point.  Why did we all stop wearing brooches? #SendMeBrooches

Final number; You’re the One that I Want.  And they are killing it.  I have no legit complaints about this production.  This is what a live musical on tv should be.  This is officially the gold standard.  NBC has to feel pretty shitty right now.

I haven’t seen Hamilton, but I don’t live under a rock so I know about how acclaimed it is.  Grease Live was directed by Hamilton’s Thomas Kail and it shows.  Ultimately this was really, really fun and completely without the cringes I’m used to in these productions.

Last complaint.  No car driving off into the sky.  Because that made so much sense the first time.

WHAT.  They are doing a curtain call?!!!  Amazing.  Why is NBC against a live audience?  That makes zero sense.  Clearly an audience kicked things up a notch.

So in closing, this was great.  I’m so sorry.  Fortunately there are 3 housewives shows currently in season so we will have to find our snark elsewhere.  Until next time!

P.S. Remember, Jordan Fisher is the next big thing.

Recap written by Liz