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When Grease was released in 1978, it became an instant musical classic in an era that simply didn’t make musicals anymore. Even if many of the cast found their peak of stardom with the film, they entered a pop culture history that has honored them for several decades now.
Well, it’s time for a whole new generation of young stars to try their hand at making sure Grease is the word again, as Fox continues to assemble its cast for their Grease: Live musical. So, let’s take a look at the cast that will take over for Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and crew, shall we?
Sandy - Julianne HoughBest known for dancing the night away with a bevy of stars on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Hough is starting to amass quite the film career for herself, and many of her choices have played on her talents as a dancer and singer. She started her movie musical career with a part in Burlesque, and has moved on to lead roles in Footloose, Rock of Ages and Safe Haven, and also has a part in the upcoming film Dirty Grandpa.
Danny - Aaron TveitAs head greaser and T-Birds boss, Danny, Tveit will get to show off al the skills he’s hones from his years as a Broadway performer. He only began taking film and TV roles in 2008, but has some solid credits to his name so far. His most notable parts have seen him grace screens as Trip van der Bilt on Gossip Girl and as rookie FBI agent Mike Warren on the USA series Graceland. Tveit has also had roles on Ugly Betty, Law & Order: SVU and The Good Wife.
Rizzo - Vanessa HudgensHudgens will be taking over as the boss of the Pink Ladies, Rizzo. While she’s still best known as the High School Musical girl, Hudgens has been working hard in the past few years to get meatier, more adult roles. Parts in Sucker Punch, Spring Breakers, Machete Kills and Gimmie Shelter will surely help her give Rizzo the appropriate sass.
Kenickie – Carlos PenaVegaIf you’re not familiar with PenaVega, that’s OK, because your kids probably are. From 2009 until 2013 he was featured in the Nickelodeon show Big Time Rush, about a boy band trying to make it big in the music industry. His singing abilities will, obviously, help him take on the secondary greaser role that he’s got here.
Frenchy – Carly Rae JepsenThe part of the Pink Ladies resident nice girl should go to someone with a squeaky clean reputation, and that Carly Rae Jepsen, if no one else. The Canadian singer hit it big in 2012 when her single “Call Me Maybe” made her a household name around the world. The song was even the year’s best selling single worldwide. She only has one other acting credit (she played herself on an episode of Castle this year, but let’s hope her live performance skills will take her through the musical without a hitch.
Marty – Keke PalmerKeke Palmer is the only one on this list who’s been acting steadily since her pre-teen years. Since her breakout role in the 2006 movie Akeelah and the Bee, she’s racked up an impressive list of credits. Palmer starred in her own Nickelodeon show, True Jackson, VP, for four seasons, as a teen who becomes the vice president of her favorite fashion company. She’s also shown up on the rebooted 90210, Grey’s Anatomy, Masters of Sex and, most recently, Scream Queens.
Vince Fontaine – Mario LopezAs the host of fictional teen dance sensation National Bandstand, Mario Lopez will take on the part of DJ Vince Fontaine. His part in Grease: Live won’t be huge, but it does take place during the all important school dance, so Lopez better have his game face on for the performance. He’s been hosting Extra since 2007, but gained an, I’m sure, amazing number of fans when he starred on Saved by the Bell from 1989 until 1996.
Principal McGee – Ana GasteyerAna Gasteyer should do great under the pressure of performing on live on television, since she starred on SNL for six years. Gasteyer also had a supporting role on ABC's Suburgatory. She’s also an accomplished singer, having released a CD, “I’m Hip” in 2014.
Mrs. Murdock – Eve PlumbNext...well, you see the photo. The T-Birds shop teacher will indeed be played by Jan Brady of The Brady Bunch fame herself, Eve Plumb. She’s recently had appearances on Law & Order: SVU and Army Wives
Teen Angel – Boyz II MenLast, but certainly not least...honestly, if you don't know Boyz II Men, I have to ask, "Where exactly did you spend the 1990s?" You will only be forgiven for not knowing one of the greatest (and best selling) R&B/soul/pop groups of all time if you were five years of age or younger during that decade. Collectively, the three remaining members of the former quartet, Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman, will be playing the role of Teen Angel. This is certainly an interesting choice, especially since the part was only played by one person, Frankie Avalon, in the original movie. It's hard to argue that the singers won't be good in the role, though. They obviously have experience singing live, and they specialize in emotional ballads and a cappella harmonies, just the kind of sound that's perfect for a show about teens in the 1950s.
Well, whatever comes of the production, I’m sure it’ll be just as intriguing to watch as any of the live musical offerings on NBC.
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