The live-TV-musical juggernaut will continue into 2016. The Hollywood Reporter announced that Grease will invade live television via the Fox network on January 31, 2016, with its two female leads already set: Julianne Hough (Footloose) as Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John in the movie) and Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Spring Breakers) taking on Stockard Channing’s role as Rizzo. Grease follows the recent NBC ratings hit The Sound Of Music Live!, the not-as-much-of-a-ratings-hit Peter Pan Live!, and upcoming live versions of The Music Man and maybe The Wiz.
Both actresses are thrilled, naturally. “Grease is one of the movies that made me want to be an entertainer, and I have literally been waiting my whole life to play Sandy,” Hough said. Hudgens added, “Being Rizzo is something I’ve never imagined, and I love that because it will be a new challenge. She is such an iconic character that continues to transcend generations. I cannot wait to bring her to life on live television. I’m going to be a Pink Lady!”
The original stage musical of Grease was a bit grittier, originating in small theaters in Chicago in 1971 before eventually moving to Broadway. The 1978 movie version of Grease (the highest-grossing movie that year) varied a bit from its source material, adding a Barry Gibb-penned title track and the pop hit “You’re The One That I Want,” moving some of the show’s musical numbers from the stage version to the back burner. There’s no word yet on which version this new live performance will adhere to. Also still up in the air: What band can possibly stand in as the 2016 version of Sha Na Na.