Vanessa Hudgens just had to look to the bleachers for support during Grease: Live.
Hudgens, who took on the iconic role of Rizzo in the live production on Sunday, tweeted that morning that her father, Greg Hudgens, died after battling stage 4 cancer on Saturday night. "I am so sad to say that last night my daddy, Greg passed away from stage 4 cancer," she wrote. "Thank you to everyone who kept him in your prayers." She then added, "Tonight, I do the show in his honor."
Surely an emotional experience for the star, her longtime boyfriend Austin Butler made sure he was close by—sitting in the audience in the gymnasium scenes for the taped rehearsals, and also tweeted throughout the experience.
@VanessaHudgens singing 'Worst Things' had me in tears," The Shannara Chronicles actor wrote. "Just brilliant #GreaseLive." He also tweeted, " #GreaseLive is MIND-BLOWING! Constant chills @VanessaHudgens."
Fox dedicated the live three-hour event to Greg Hudgens, with a tribute appearing as the behind-the-scenes clips aired at the end of the show. "In loving memory of Greg Hudgens. June 22, 1950 – January 30, 2016," it read.
Grease: Live earned rave reviews on social media, specifically Hudgens for her rendition of "There Are Worst Things I Could Do," and her perfect portrayal of Rizzo's sass and vulnerability.
In addition to dominating social media, Grease: Live was also a massive hit in the ratings for Fox, attracting 12.2 million viewers and a 4.3 same-day rating in the 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary ratings, besting NBC's live productions of The Wiz and Peter Pan.
Grease: Live starred Aaron Tveit, Julianne Hough, Keke Palmer, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kether Donohue, Carlos Penavega and Jordan Fisher, and also featured the original movie's stars Didi Conn (Frenchy!) and Barry Pearl (Doody!) in supporting roles. Director Thomas Kail received massive praise for his work behind the cameras.