Look out NBC, Fox has its own live musical on the way! In a bold but not all that surprising move, Fox has announced that they're bringing a live production of Grease to the small screen next year. The network announced today that they're going to be airing a three-hour live Grease event in 2015, tentatively titled Grease Live.
Fox says Grease Live will air during 2015 and will feature a "young ensemble cast." Their plan for the production is to "reintroduce the great music and timeless story to an entirely new generation."
Following the success of NBC's broadcast of The Sound of Music Live, it's not surprising that the other networks might be eying live musical productions of their own. But it is interesting to note Fox's choice of production and their use of words like "young" and "new generation" in their announcement. We know that NBC is specifically aiming for mainstream and family-friendly with their own productions, and while Grease fits the former, it's not entirely family-friendly, which is why we ruled it out last year when we were waiting to find out what NBC's 2014 production would be. In the end, NBC went with Peter Pan. Fox's choice to go with Grease is an indication that they're less concerned about including a wide range of ages and more about targeting the younger demo.
Based on a 1971 musical and made massively popular by the 1978 adaptation that starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, Grease is set in the late 50's and centers on a shy teen girl who falls for a "greaser" over the summer. Their summer romance doesn't transition so well when Sandy arrives at Rydell High and doesn't fit in with Danny's T-Bird and Pink Lady friends.
Grease is the movie that convinced me that the most popular cliques in high school actually had jackets to show off their cool-club name. And that high school seniors could pass for late-twenties to early thirties. I learned the truth when I got to high school and no one sang about their "Summer lovin'". Grease remains a classic and beloved musical, and one that could be a lot of fun as a live televised production.
Fox's announcement indicates that -- in addition to songs like "Summer Nights" and "We Go Together," which were featured in the original musical -- songs that were written for the 1978 film -- "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "You're the One that I want," specifically -- will be included in the production. With that in mind, I'll be interested to see if they work in some of the songs from the stage musical that were either omitted or else set as background music in the movie. For example, one of my personal favorites from Broadway soundtrack is "Those Magic Changes," which Doody sings. Here's the version of it from the 1994 revival soundtrack:
With Grease Live set for 2015 on Fox, we'll have to wait and see who's cast to play Sandy, Danny, Rizzo, Kenickie and the other leads. It's going to be very exciting waiting to hear updates on that. Will they go for actors and singers with theatrical experience, or will they take NBC's questionable approach in casting a singer with limited acting experience for its lead? We'll keep you posted!