I'm currently in a coma and I'm writing from a unconscious state. This all relates to last night. #GreaseLive (as all live television musicals must only be referred to by their corresponding hashtags) aired on FOX and I am a complete mess after that three hour, majestic telecast. Thomas Kail, the director of the special and Hamilton (yeah, THAT Hamilton), completely revolutionized the live television musical — an art form that has just recently made a resurgence.
#SoundOfMusicLive began the trend in 2013 and began a "hate-watching" movement. People didn't like the bad acting and the ridiculousness of it all, but the concept made them happy. #PeterPanLive was next and it was a total snooze by comparison. The best part was the game I started to play called "Spot the Newsie!" This past December, #TheWizLive premiered and made people truly excited to watch live theater, thanks in part to a killer cast, a wonderful choice in show, and an amazing display of talent.
During #TheWizLive, people stopped hate watching. They actually were, dare I say it, enjoying the production. These same people were looking forward to #GreaseLive though, because it looked like a train wreck. They were ready to GIF-insult the production like there was no tomorrow...
But yesterday happened and everyone is happier for it. #GreaseLive killed it. The scope of the project (across four sound stages on the Warner Brothers' lot), the fantastic cast (Vanessa Hudgens slaying it as Rizzo — especially considering her current state — and Elle McLemore as Patty Simcox — A.K.A. me), and the fun of it all (Ana Gasteyer in all the roles, please and thank you). Grease is not a good show, like at all. "I don't want change for anyone, you should be yourself, but like, lol Zukko is hot TELL ME 'BOUT IT, STUD!" is a paraphrased direct quote from Sandy. It's original satire intentions were stomped on by the film, and now, they can never return. However, as watching, I didn't care because it was so fantastic and that's the goal!
So, because of all this, I once again bring up the question: Why hasn't ABC gotten in on the fun?
It seems like common sense and yet, nada. If they do something on the #GreaseLive scale on the Burbank lot, it will be ratings gold and the money would come rolling in (as I write this, the DVD is available for pre-order and the album is #5 on the all genre iTunes chart). Here's a quick list of some fun possibilites:
- #MaryPoppinsLive - This seems like the most obvious and the most lucrative choice. One of the most recognized musicals of all-time could be a mix of the film and stage version, as far as music goes. Casting could be diverse (my vote goes to Audra McDonald as Mary) and the scope can be equal to #GreaseLive (Mary flying into the night sky would give America chills).
- #TarzanLive - If they want to go with a nontraditional choice, this could be fun. It has been adapted for the stage already, so they have a piece to look at for help. The addition of crazy cool aerial choreography (cough cough Cirque Du Soleil cough cough) could add to the production immensely. This show, however, would probably work better utilizing a single space, not the four sound stages in #GreaseLive.
- #PocahontasLive - A very interesting choice, but could turn into something magnificent. This would be more of a drama, which may not translate as well (#GreaseLive's biggest win was that it's just a fun musical. It always felt like a big party), but I think it could be a beautiful production. Taking a show never translated into a Broadway show brought to ABC as an all-new undertaking. Also, having a Native American cast would be fantastic to see on screen.
- #MammaMiaLive - They've purchased the rights for some weird stuff before (here's looking at you Doug and Avatar), why not scoop this up?! The songs are beloved, and while the story is new, a great cast will have people tuning-in in droves. Make it happen, ABC!
I love live theater and this trend makes me so happy. I even loved the two NBC musicals everyone hated. I am all in with these. We have #ThePassionLive in March (a retelling of the story of Jesus through the streets of New Orleans, with Trisha Yearwood as Mary, utilizing only current songs. It sounds bonkers — I'm so in.) and a remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show this fall (not live), both on FOX. #HairsprayLive will be the next NBC musical (which will hopefully have actual SETS and not just giant screens like #TheWizLive. Woof). ABC, let's jump on the bandwagon.
I now leave you with a clip from #GreaseLive because it is needed.