“Grease: Live” to Be Broadcast on Fox-TV This Weekend [Berkshire On Stage]

January 28th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Greg

By Larry Murray

A must-watch event, “Grease” gets a makeover for Fox TV, but will it work?

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This weekend you can love or hate-watch “Grease: Live” the popular musical adapted for the Fox network by a host of talented Broadway/Hollywood folks. They are experimenting with the American musical tradition, trying to find the best way to present musicals on television. For this production, they will be expanding “Grease” into a more interactive performance with action both inside and outside the tinseltown studio, and with a live audience which can cheer the dance contest and join in the Rydell pep rally, all televised live. It airs this Sunday (January 31) at 7pm. I will be watching the weather forecast, since if it rains in Hollywood, this could turn into a wet T-shirt and leather jacket contest.

Of course, the program is not just about innovation, it’s about ratings, too. In 2013, “The Sound of Music Live” might have been critically reviled, but it attracted 18.6 million viewers. More recently, “The Wiz Live” got some good reviews, and it attracted some 11.5 million people. Musicals are proving popular fare on network TV. Budget for the show is $16 million with a soundtrack release on iTunes to follow. The telecast also boasts an Internet-based behind-the-scenes experience designed to be watched simultaneously with the broadcast.

Berkshire audiences have a good reason to watch” Grease: Live” and that is to keep up with Aaron Tveit who plays the role of bad boy Danny Zuko. He last appeared here at Barrington Stage Company, starring in the Barry Wyner musical “Calvin Berger” at the Berkshire Athenaeum in 2007. He was featured in the USA network series “Graceland,” and played Enjolras in the filmed version of “Les Miserables.” Happily, Tveit is a bit more James Dean than John Travolta, with lots of Broadway musical theater experience behind him (“Next to Normal,” “Catch Me if You Can”).

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