by Jean Bentley | Fri., Jan. 15, 2016 5:02 PM
Bust out your Rydell High letterman jacket because it's almost time for Grease: Live!
The cast of Fox's upcoming musical production, including Julianne Hough, Vanessa Hudgens and Aaron Tveit, is still intensely rehearsing for the Jan. 31 event, but they gathered at the Television Critics Association winter press tour to share a few things we can expect from their show.
The first bit of news? That it'll include two cast members from the movie. Revealed director Thomas Kail, "Didi Conn (Frenchy) and Barry Pearl (Doody) are in our production! Didi is playing Vi who is the waitress who has a little scene with Frenchy. We do have a moment where we have the generations stare at each other...it was incredibly moving for all of us."
Here's what else we learned about the upcoming TV event:
It's the Best of Both Worlds: "We're doing the best version of Grease," revealed executive producer Marc Platt, which will include songs and scenes from both the film and he original stage production. That will include songs from the musical, "'Those Magic Changes' and 'Freddie My Love,' which Keke Palmer will sing. [We're] combining them into an experience that works for live television."
It'll Go Outdoors: Scenes will take place not only in soundstages on the Warner Bros. lot but also on sets outside. They'll be using 44 cameras and two stages and a portion of the backlot. And it'll have a live audience—who might appear in the show too. "The audience is designed into the set...they may be characters," dished Platt.
Some of Them Have Done This Before: While Broadway vet Tveit hasn't actually been in a production of Grease, several of his castrates have. "I played Frenchie in eighth grade. But I always wanted to be Jan because I like characters," said Kether Donohue (who's finally playing Jan). Star Hough said, "I put the production on in my basement... I was Sandy, but then in the dance scene I transformed into Cha Cha." And Carly Rae Jepsen (Frenchy) has also donned a Pink Ladies jacket before. "I was Sandy in my high school production of it. I could not walk in heels like you do!"
There's a New Song: Revealed Platt, "There's a new song written just for Grease: Live and Carly Rae's character will be singing that song." The tune is by the writers of Tveit's Tony-winning musical Next to Normal. Says Donohue, "We all cry during rehearsal."
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John Support Them: "They both have been enormously supportive and sent a lot of love," said Platt. And Newton-John told Hough she was perfect for the role when she guest-judged on Dancing With the Stars. "This is my hero, this is my 5-year-old dream, so for her to give me that blessing to take that weight...I hope I make her proud has been very opening and I can come her and discover Sandy for myself and still honor what Olivia did. I hope that she's watching...she's better than you'd hope she would be."
Grease: Live airs Sunday, Jan. 31 on Fox.
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