Grease: Then vs. Now

January 31, 2016

Last night, the three-hour marathon “Grease: Live” aired on Fox, bursting with stars like Julianne Hough, Vanessa Hudgens and Carly Rae Jepsen. And like any good live event, critics of all levels—real ones and plain old social media complainers—took to their devices to voice their opinions. It seems like the musical was a mild success, critically speaking. But when it comes to the sheer numbers, it was a huge commercial hit for Fox, which pulled in 12.2 million viewers. As for the dance sequences, we’ll let you decide in this game of Grease: Then vs. Now.


“Summer Nights”

Okay, so “Summer Nights” isn’t exactly a big dance number, though it does pack a lot of energy and fun. Because the “Live” cast was a mixed bag of talents—everyone had a different strength be it singing, dancing or acting—I’m leaning toward the original movie. The singing is stronger, and I think the character portrayals throughout the song are much better, too.


“Greased Lightning”

The iconic “Greased Lightning” song is basically a dream sequence in which a junker turns into a dream car. Scenes like this naturally lend themselves to prerecorded video, so I thought for sure that the movie version would win this round. But from a pure movement standpoint, the “Live” cast had a stellar group of male dancers. My pick: “Grease: Live.”




“You’re The One That I Want”

Ah yes, here we arrive at the final, and probably most iconic number, where Sandra Dee turns into a “real woman” so she can win the heart of her man. The “Live” version is super fun: I like that they were able to maintain a lot of the spirit of the original despite the constraints of having to shoot in one location. But honestly, I don’t think anything could outdo the over-the-top energy of the movie.



The Verdict

I’m going to be super fair with this by not actually declaring a winner. Both productions had their strengths and weaknesses, and “Grease: Live” put up a great fight. Ultimately, I probably have a little bias in me from my pigtail-wearing kiddo days of popping a Grease VHS in at every sleepover I went to.

Which version won in your book?



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