While it’s not absurd- it’s exciting. With just a few months before the live telecast of Grease, FOX’s publicity scheme is kicking into full gear- hoping that this casting sparks our attention. And it does.
Julianne Hough (from Dancing with the Stars) and Vanessa Hudgens (from High School Musical) are set to play Sandy and Rizzo respectively. We think this casting could actually work ridiculously well. It’s not the nonsensical casting (like Carrie Underwood and Allison Williams) that made NBC’s live musicals controversial, but it could be the casting that makes Fox’s live musical good.
NBC’s specials were successful in ratings (despite a drop with their second attempt, Peter Pan) but were universally scrutinized for their terrible productions. Fox could turn this reputation around if done carefully. To us, Grease makes the perfect summer TV special. It COULD be the next High School Musical, which had ridiculous success over at Disney (Hudgens starred).
Julianne Hough has played every famous role she could on the big screen (including a reboot of Footloose) but after an unfortunate turn in Rock of Ages, she returned to DWTS by judging the dance competition she won twice. She’s still in the news (and by news we mean People magazine) for her occasional wild choice, like painting her face black for her Orange Is The New Black Halloween costume. She has a name bigger than Allison Williams but not quite in the same field as Carrie Underwood.
Vanessa Hudgens will definitely help with this. While Hough seems perfect for Sandy, Hudgens as Rizzo is surprising. We don’ know if she has the voice or the acting strength to revival Stockard Channing. Hudgens needs this to be a success after missteps at the movies. Someone still believes in her talent, though, as she’s set for the Broadway bound revival of Gigi (with Hudgens in the iconic starring role).
Both girls seem to be great (if not perfect) choices for their roles. But that casting’s easy. The real trouble will be finding a Danny- as the Broadway revival proved to struggle with. It’s a strange role that few actors can perfect. Jon Travolta defined it so well, that no one so far has been able to imitate it.
All the same, for now, Grease is looking great. It’s shaping up to be a surprisingly great musical. But we don’t want to get our hopes up. The last two live musicals have been absolutely painful to sit through and this could easily slip into the same fate. Right now, it looks good but it can still do bad. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.