Emmy Spotlight: FOX and Paramount TV’s Spectacular ‘Grease: Live’

Joey Moser talks to the Grease: Live production team about the blood, sweat, and tears behind bringing the beloved musical to a nationwide audience.

I’m not sure a lot of people knew what to expect from Fox / Paramount TV’s live presentation of Grease: Live. Sure, a lot of people love the musical – the stage show is still one of the most continually produced across the country – but could this show really stand out following the massive successes of NBC’s live performances of The Sound of Music and the critically acclaimed rendition of The Wiz? What could director Thomas Kail and his creative team bring to the table that would make this beloved musical feel fresh and alive again?

Kail and his creatives adapted Grease in a way that I didn’t expect. The iconic lines and moments are all there, but they have produced something that makes theater geeks like me squeal with glee. The sets are massive, and the camerawork allowed us to feel like we were attending pep rallies and boring classes at Rydell High. In short, the at-home audience felt like an integral part of this giant musical. We weren’t just watching it from a comfortable seat in a Broadway theater. We were living it.

Live musicals are still tricky to predict in the Emmy race. The Sound of Music picked up 4 nominations back in 2013, but no other show has been nominated for coveted trophies since then. Will the scale of Grease: Live and the excitement of the immense production land it some Creative Emmys? Director Thomas Kail seems like a sure bet for changing the way that musicals can be produced for a television audience. He’s one of the hottest stage directors working right now, and he’s behind a small, little show on Broadway. You may have heard of it? Hamilton?

While talking to Kail on the phone, I could sense his real enthusiasm for the project and his respect for the work. We talked about the rehearsal process and about how there isn’t a definitive version of the beloved musical. I try my best to not sound like a total nerd, and I do end up asking him about a much-maligned movie musical that I would love to see adapted for the stage.

Grease: Live
Kail (center) on the set of Grease: Live

AwardsDaily TV: I wanted to congratulate you! You’re having a ridiculously great year. How does it feel to be the director of two very huge—but very different—successes?

Thomas Kail: Oh, I don’t know. [Laughs] The beauty of having a chance to make things in different places is that you get to take what you’ve learned and try to apply it to the next task and see what still fits in your toolbox and what’s still needed. I feel very fortunate that I’ve had the chance to do two works in the last little while that allows theater to be part of the cultural conversation. That’s very important to me that theater is at the big kids’ table and that it’s not the kid brother. It’s been a beacon for me. It has been a place that’s embraced me and so many of my friends and given us a place to feel relevant and useful. The fact that we can reach so many people with Grease in one night and continue to as it spins into the universe is very meaningful.

ADTV: I recently found out that you had done some television work before, but Grease was your first huge television project.

TK: It was my first live musical of Grease, I can tell you that!

ADTV: Yes! What made you the most nervous about taking on a project so large? Is there something in particular?

TK: I don’t know if it was nerves as much as I was very keen on trying to honor the show and the spirit of the show. That’s something that we talked a lot about with my music director, Tom Kitt, my choreographer, Zach Woodlee, Marc Platt the producer, Alex Rudzinski (live television director). All of us talked from those early, early meetings about how to capture the feeling of Grease. How to put forth something that we felt captured the spirit of what the original show did and then what the original film did for so many people. That was a thing we were conscious of at every single turn. How do we make our own version of this, but also honor what’s coming forward. And acknowledge why we’re here.

ADTV: I actually re-watched it, and everyone is very familiar with either the show or the movie. A lot of those lines are very quotable, and I was very surprised by how a lot of it felt so fresh and so different and so new. I wanted to thank you for putting in “Those Magic Changes” and “Freddy My Love” back into the show. “Magic Changes” is my favorite song from the stage show, so I was very happy to see that again. Was walking that fine line difficult—especially for those who may be watching it for the first time?

Grease: LiveTK: Well, there’s a particular challenge with Grease, because there isn’t a definitive version. There’s the version they did in Chicago, there’s the one for Broadway, there’s the version that’s done in high schools, the film—which is quite different from that. The writers on the show—Jon Tolins and Rob Carey, and I—thought very hard about all of those different iterations and the things that we loved from each. We wanted to pull in all of the things they admired or moved them–as did I. We knew that we wanted to use the spine of the film because that was the version most people had access to. But then for the numbers that existed on stage that didn’t make it into the film, this felt like a way that we could introduce this version which was our version of Grease. The car race that’s in the film—which is clearly not on stage—and sort of put them all together and make it all feel cohesive. And a lot of that was we knew that the glue would be the spirit. We knew the glue was the feeling. It wasn’t even about the events or which scenes, because there are a lot of scenes in our version that weren’t in either of the other versions. There’s a lot of new material that’s infused with that same spirit of Grease and yet you get to go to the Frosty Palace. You get to meet all the characters that you know and then were some opportunities to bring in some of the things that we knew were going to make someone say, “Oh, this is that thing that didn’t make it into here, and now it’s there.” It’s the same feeling you had.

ADTV: Something I’m very curious about is where you watched it. Where did you watch the show?

TK: I watched it in the truck. Right behind Alex.

ADTV: I wasn’t sure if you were incognito in the live audience watching it.

TK: What’s funny is when we were first rehearsing just in the rehearsal studio, I was talking to the cast and they were asking where I was going to be. And I said, “Where will I be most useful?” They said it would be great if I was out there, so I thought I’d be like Lorne Michaels—I’d be around, checking things out. And as we got closer to it, I realized a) I’d just be in the way, and b) I’d be far more utilized if something was needed in the truck. But I did… at the very end of the curtain call… Mark Platt and I ran out. That idea of having the fair with all the people out there was one of the first ideas we had. We were sitting there having watched the whole thing and I said, “This is our chance to actually go and be in the middle of it. We’ll know what it looks like when we watch it, you know, sometime in the future. You want to go?” And he sort of looked at me and we sort of just booked it out of there. If you look really closely in the final bow right after Aaron and Julianne take their last bow in the deep background on top of one of those golf carts, you can see me and Mark very, very small on the screen. So, I was out there for the last thirty seconds.

ADTV: I’ll have to look for that!

TK: I’m surprised the internet hasn’t discovered it yet…because nobody cares [Laughs].

ADTV: [Laughs] I’m sure it’s in some Buzzfeed article somewhere

TK: There’s probably 4 articles now [Laughs].

ADTV: Speaking of the rehearsals, was there any clear difference between this and maybe a Broadway show that’s made for the stage?

TK: For the first month, no. We were just in the rehearsal studio. We ran it like you would for a show whether you were in Florida or on Broadway or a national tour, or Off-Broadway. The rehearsal day was structured in a very similar fashion. There were always two rooms going. Zach Woodlee in his room constantly. Tom Kitt had his own room where he was orchestrating and arranging, and if he wasn’t doing that he was teaching music. And then I was in another room and we’d all join for certain moments. Obviously, the closer we got to leaving the studio, we were together a lot more than we were apart. It was very important to me that we routined and ran the show as many times as we could. The red light of the “ON AIR” was an x-ray vision machine for confidence. My job was to prepare everybody on stage as well as that crew and Alex and his team. They had real repetition at the movements, so when something went left when it was supposed to go right or zig instead of zag, they’d have that information. The version that was on Sunday when we did that, that was our third full run through with an audience (and we had two previous run throughs), and our fifth run we’d gone through of the show. If you’ve ever worked on a show you know that you never get to run a show that many times before your first preview, and it’s my job to get the show ready to meet the audience. So that structuring or skill that you learn from your stage managers when you’re making a musical on Broadway or Off-Broadway is actually what we were trying to accomplish. The big shift is when we got on stage. Instead of it being eight, nine, ten days of tech, we were on the set. These sets were three dimensional with real walls and real integrity. It was about putting it there and shooting everything single camera to then use as a map for us to do the camera coverage for when Alex was ready to break that down.

Grease: LiveADTV: The show is huge, and it’s unlike any of the recent live musicals. The first time I was watching the live broadcast, I was sitting very close to my TV with my face screwed up thinking, “How the heck are they doing this?” It works so seamlessly. Was the idea of going so big there from the beginning, or was that something that came along as you were rehearsing?

TK: No, we were thinking of this scale from the very early conversations we had 14 or 15 months before we ever did it. This idea of having an opening number that showed it was happening live, that there were scenes, that there were actors playing these parts was one of the early conversations. We wanted to show how really high we were on the wire. I knew we wanted to end it in that with the big party rain or shine—little did we know it would actually rain that day. That we did not know [Laughs]. We didn’t know necessarily that it would be on two soundstages and that it would be outside. With my production designer David Korins, we had conversations with Mark Platt, we just thought to design the version that we want to do, and whether we do one soundstage in New York or two or three in L.A. Let’s find the vocabulary and language for the show and then we’ll make sure it will work wherever we end up. Sometimes where you end up is based on very practical things than just artistic idea. We didn’t want to compromise the vision of the show no matter where we were.

ADTV: I was surprised that other live musicals didn’t have a live audience. I believe that The Wiz Live would have benefitted from having that energy from the audience. How important to you was bringing a live audience into the space?

TK: Having a live audience felt like it was necessary component for Grease, so we were talking about that from the very initial conversations with Paramount and FOX. Grease is a musical comedy so we felt that back and forth energy that we were trying to harness would really benefit from having a live audience. We were able to incorporate them in the way that we did. When you’re in the gym and you have 200 people in that totally immersive scene, it was such a full expression of the storytelling within the show, the dynamism of Zach Woodlee’s choreography, Alex’s camera coverage of that and letting that happen in front of an engaged and electrified audience was a dream. It was feedback loop. The actors were giving the audience and the audience was giving to the performers—it made it feel combustible and alive.

ADTV: In my experience with theater, getting an audience—no matter what type—is so important just to see how the pace is sustained and to get the reactions, whether it’s laughter or applause. Since I was so used to all the other musicals not having real reactions from a crowd, the audience really fed into the energy of the performers.

TK: Hopefully, the cadence of the experience we have of going to see theater and live musicals was something we could transport. So that was our goal.

ADTV: Was there any particular actor from the audition process or rehearsal process that surprised you in a good way? Did anyone blow you away when you first saw them in the rehearsals?

TK: This cast was so uniformly remarkable that it’s impossible for me to distinguish. These things are contingent on the alchemy of the group, and that’s not something you can always control. This is a show about wanting to belong and be a part of something, so the fact that the T-Birds have this bond that began at the photo shoot weeks before (and the Pink Ladies also had that) made me think we were onto something. We were just getting to know each other. The standard was so high! We had Ana Gasteyer and Haneefah Woods, Wendell Pierce who I’ve worked with—everyone was a ringer. Tom Kitt mentioned this on the day of the show. When this kind of production comes together, it’s this relay race, and everybody takes the baton and they run with it so swiftly and so securely and just hand it off to the next person. And that’s what happened that day in all departments. There were 450 people that went to work that day to make that show, and all of them had their finest day. It was quite the thing to behold.

ADTV: Grease: Live had such an ethnically diverse cast. There has been a lot of talk about the diversity of Hamilton.

TK: It was not conscious in its relation to Hamilton. It was conscious in that we wanted to populate this Rydell High where the world could be watching it. It felt like that was only going to inform and infuse the spirit of the show that we were trying to capture.

ADTV: To close, is there any way for me to convince you to direct Grease 2: Live?

TK: [Laughs] Let’s put it this way. I know Grease 2 better than I know Grease. We owned two movie musicals growing up – I have two sisters, and I’m in the middle – and they was Grease and Grease 2. I already have it worked out how I’m going to do “Reproduction.” The bowling alley has been rented. And we can bring back Didi Conn!

ADTV: So if I give you Michelle Pfeiffer and a ladder, you’ll do it just for me?

TK: If there’s a ladder and a bowling alley available, we should probably just set it up.

The more you research the production of Grease: Live, the more you realize how top-notch everyone involved is. This is a dream team stacked with so much experience and assured talent that it’s no wonder that the musical felt so smooth and effortless. With such a dependable group of people collected to work on Grease, how could it not be a rousing success?

We were afforded the privilege to reach out to some of the creatives to ask them a few questions relating to their field in the making of Grease: Live.

Working closely with Kail was Alex Rudzinski, the live television director. Rudzinski has directed a lot of well-known reality television, but he’s probably best known for his directorial work on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. 

GREASE: LIVE: (L-R) Aaron Tveit and Julianne Hough rehearse for GREASE: LIVE airing LIVE Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 (7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed), on FOX. © 2016 Fox Broadcasting CO. Cr: Kevin Estrada/FOXADTV: Did you rehearse at all with an audience to give the actors any sense or how the live audience would react to certain aspects of the show? How did you maneuver the audience around so seamlessly?

Alex Rudzinski: Yes, we had a full dress rehearsal the night before air with a full audience, and three days before transmission we also had an audience where we invited just the friends and family of the cast and crew. We learned a huge amount from both of these. The audio team had a lot of balancing to do and we had to test the logistics of moving the audience around our different locations during the 3 hours – It wasn’t just the cast and crew moving between different stages but we also moved the audience live on air!

ADTV: In what ways is directing something like Grease: Live similar to putting together Dancing with the Stars?

AR: The main similarity is how I work in designing and executing a camera script – every shot is storyboarded and called in real time musically to bars and beats – there are approximately 1,500 shots in the show.           

ADTV: Did the death of Greg Hudgens change the atmosphere of the presentation at all backstage?

AR: When you work on a show for as long as this, the cast and crew become a special family. Of course everyone was hugely sympathetic with Vanessa for her loss, but her response on show day was so professional. She helped the team to stay focused on that night’s broadcast.

Grease: LiveADTV: You stated that Grease: Live was going to feature handheld cameras kind of like a professional football game. Do you think this could be used for all live musicals from now on, or was this technique better suited for something looser and fun like this musical?

AR: We used some handheld cameras for logistical reasons due to the enormous distance between our locations. We had 21 different sets spread out over nearly half a kilometer. Without using some handhelds that could reposition live between locations we would have needed 30-40 cameras which just would not have been financially viable. Hopefully, our viewers were unaware of the camerawork and just enjoyed the immersive presentation of the performances from our cast.

Costume designer William Ivey Long has won six Tony Awards for Broadway hits like Nine, The Producers, and Grey Gardens, and he’s designed probably every iconic look on stage that you can remember. He occasionally dabbles in television, but Grease: Live was his first foray in over a decade. If you look up pictures of Mr. Long, you can immediately tell he has an affinity for clothes, and he has killer style. The musical was a huge undertaking, but the bright colors and the cohesive design signifies that we are in the presence of a total master.

ADTV: You haven’t been involved with a television presentation since The Man Who Came to Dinner over 15 years ago. Was it exciting to come back to television for the live broadcast?

William Ivey Long: Yes, this hybrid event had every feeling of urgency – like a live Broadway show – with the addition of the technical requirements of a live television show. In fact, I had such a good time on Grease: Live that I’ve designed two more television projects since: Rocky Horror Picture Show for FOX (airing this Halloween) and Maya and Marty for NBC (currently shooting). 

ADTV: Was there a look from the original film that you were eager to do your own spin on? Were you tempted to change anything up dramatically?

WIL: We were a valentine to the 1980’s film, which was a valentine to the 70’s musical which was itself valentine to the actual 1950’s teen movie phenomena. Of course we always stand on the shoulders of our predecessors and my hat is off to the great Albert Wolsky – legendary designer of the original film. 

ADTV: You’ve designed for so many legendary Broadway musicals, and your work encompasses so many different eras and time periods. Do you have a favorite?

WIL: Yes, actually, the glamorous period 1936-1938. All of the best fashion designers were working at the height of their artistry; and our country was about to go to war. Glamour on the brink!

ADTV: The cast of this musical is huge, and everything is so exquisitely detailed. When you begin to tackle something as big as Grease: Live, where do you start? Was this one of the largest projects you’ve taken on?

MartyWIL: Yes, this is one of the largest – almost 500 costumes! We began with actual 1950’s research – high school students, greasers, and the wide-eyed cultures of that innocent time in America. I then worked with production designer David Korins to create different color schemes for each production number – from a controlled school-colors opening number to the explosion of confetti colors at the carnival finale.

ADTV: One of the best moments from the first half of the show was when Marty transformed into her fantasy dress during “Freddy My Love.” With this change and with Cinderella’s transformation before the ball in the latest revival, I have to ask: are you the master of the quick change?

WIL: Ever since working with Siegfried and Roy, I have been in love with magic, and specifically, magical transformations. In fact Keke Palmer who played Marty and sang Freddy My Love was my last Cinderella on Broadway – so I had already worked with her on several magical transformations and knew she would be more than up for it. 

ADTV: Your next television project is the remake of the cult classic musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Were you ready to jump into something more scandalous and sexy after such a squeaky clean musical?


The music supervisor, Tom Kitt, is a Pulitzer Prize winning musician who both composes and conducts. He has written the music for the stage adaptations for High Fidelity and Bring It On (where he worked with Tony winner and fellow Pulitzer Prize winner, Lin Manuel Miranda). Being associated with one of the most intense musical theater pieces in the last 10 years (the exquisite Next to Normal), I was most curious as to what drew Kitt to Grease in the first place.

ADTV: Next to Normal is one of the most beloved and emotional musicals in the last decade. What interested you about getting involved with such a “fluffy” musical like this one?

Tom Kitt: Grease was one of the first musicals I saw as a kid. I loved it so much, that I must have seen it over 50 times in the movie theater. And looking back, I think my love of musicals began with Grease. It’s a show that I have great passion and admiration for; a show that taught me a lot about the craft of creating a musical. So to be given the opportunity to work with such iconic material and become part of the Grease family was quite an honor for me.

ADTV: Grease is one the most produced musicals in the country. What was the most rewarding aspect about bringing it to such a huge audience with the live presentation?

TK: There were three things that were incredibly rewarding: First, the opportunity to work with such a virtuosic group of creatives was a thrill by itself. Second, having never worked in the genre of the TV/Musical, the fact that we were able to work at a fast and high level and never felt adrift or unprepared was incredibly gratifying. And lastly, Grease as we know is beloved and already comes with such strong personal feelings from those who revere it, so the fact that we were able to make our own version, which was both faithful to what people love, but was also able to find its own voice, was quite a challenge that I feel like we were able to pull off. At the end of the day, we wanted to honor this material but bring a new audience to it with the same passion we had when we first saw it, and it feels like we did that.

ADTV: Were you tempted to incorporate more of the original musicals’ music into the live production, or was that strictly off the table?

TK: We were constantly going back to the original musical to see about incorporating more songs.  “Rock ’N’ Roll Party Queen” and “Mooning” were additions that were made during the rehearsal process.  And one of my favorite moments was “Those Magic Changes,” in which we utilized aspects from both the musical and the film to create a new version of that song.  Between the film and the musical, there are so many great songs and I think the writers did an extraordinary job of finding ways to incorporate the music from both versions so that the piece felt cohesive and faithful to the different incarnations we all love.

ADTV: To end, I wanted to know if you could tell me anything about your upcoming production of Magic Mike (another show with your Normal collaborator, Brian Yorkey).

TK: We are currently in the development process for Magic Mike and I am having a phenomenal time working with Brian and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, as well as the entire creative team from the original film.  There is no specific timetable as of now, but we’ve had some exciting first few steps so I’m hoping there will be more to share about the show’s trajectory soon.

Summer LovinYou can’t think about this rock-n-roll musical and not immediately think about the dancing. With such insanely hummable tunes like “The Hand Jive,” Summer Lovin’,” and “Greased Lightning,” attention must be paid to choreographer Zach Woodlee. He’s mostly known in front of the camera for his stint as a mentor on The Glee Project on Oxygen, but he was putting the teens from Glee in dance boot camp from day one. His work on Grease: Live is infectious, vivacious, and just downright fun. Every inch of your television screen had Woodlee’s stamp on it.

ADTV: Since you were the main choreographer on Glee, would you say that high school kids have the most fun dancing between classes?

Zach Woodlee: I wouldn’t say working with a younger cast is necessarily more energetic. Dancing at any age creates a fun, kinetic energy. I love seeing the dance process from the creative inception to the final product, regardless if they are 16 or 60. 

ADTV: How many hours a day did you rehearse choreography?

ZW: We worked from 10am-7pm every day. Grease: Live was a tightly run ship, and needed multiple rooms running at all times. There was a rotation throughout the day from scene work, vocals, and dancing.  In our room, someone was always dancing!

ADTV: The Hand Jive was one of the highlights of the entire production. Is it hard to dance that fine line between honoring the original choreography and putting your own spin on it?

ZW: Of course! Everyone loves Grease. The fear of not being able to honor the original was daunting, but that goes with the territory of recreating a hit. For me, I think it was more about highlighting our actors’ talents and using their strengths to win over our audience. This cast was very well versed in movement already, so it made it more interesting to push the room to a much more athletic version for our hand jive.

ADTV: I was a big fan of The Glee Project, and it was great to see you teaching the choreography to the actors for that show. Did you have to put The Pink Ladies and the T-Birds into a serious dance boot camp?

ZW: This whole project was a boot camp! From day one, we all came in knowing time was short. The buzz of a live event helped to get us through the long yet rewarding days. Our entire cast and crew worked nonstop to create something that everyone would be proud of.

IMG_6080One of the most striking things of the entire production was the scenic design. Unlike Peter Pan or The Wiz, Grease: Live planted you into Rydell High. It’s not that the sets from previous musicals were poorly constructed, but designed David Korins stepped it up in a major way. You could almost feel the stiff desks in the science classes or you could have had some real gym class flashbacks during the dance scene or during “Summer Lovin’.”

Korins has designed for Broadway, regional theater, televion and music festivals. You name it, he’s done it. Like Mr. Kail, he has been nominated for a Tony for his work on Hamilton.

ADTV: When you signed on to do Grease: Live, were you surprised by how large it was going to be?

David Korins: I don’t think that Grease: Live was necessarily large or small – it was exactly the size it needed to be. It was really amazing to watch it find its way from being a piece of theater or a piece of television and define itself as a live television event. We didn’t originally imagine that it would take place all over the Warner Brothers lot, but when we got the multiple sound stages we decided to use them to their fullest extent. Even before I was on the project, director Tommy Kail knew he wanted to use the live audience, and the additional sound stages allowed us to really expand their presence and show them along the way as we moved from one scene/location to another. And, of course, the addition of the “golf-cart-ography” was a ton of fun. In the end, Grease: Live sort of presented two parallel experiences, for both the live audience and the viewer at home: the performance of Grease itself and event of the scenes taking place all around this sprawling lot. That duality gave a gravitas to the whole experience. 

IMG_1652ADTV: The sets are so incredibly detailed. With other recent live musicals presented on television, it does feel like we are watching a stage musical, but Grease: Live is a much more immersive experience. Was it a go big or go home mindset from the beginning?

DK: We never really thought about it in terms of “go big or go home.” We began by asking ourselves: what are the best storytelling methods unique to theater, and what are the best storytelling methods unique to television? Theater uses obvious scene changes that explicitly show how we go from one mood or setting to another. There is no such thing as a jump cut or a dissolve or a cross fade, so we get to see those things happen and it’s a honor and a privilege to see how a piece of theater comes to life. On television, you can do scale tricks with the camera and play with size and proportion. You can actually have a legitimate cathartic revelation of space where you can see expanses of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of feet. Once we identified what the best storytelling devices of each medium were, we had to find a way to conflate them and actually take advantage of both media. So, in Grease: Live you get to actually see the scenery change and then bust outside and have a full blown carnival. So that didn’t necessarily feel like “go big or go home”, that felt like “identify the awesome and then exploit it!”

ADTV: You’ve worked several times with director Tommy Kail. Was it easier to take on such a massive project with someone you’ve worked with several times before?

DK: Absolutely. It probably takes 10 times working with someone before you even start to get to know them and the way their mind works. It’s crucial to create a shorthand of language and build a foundation of artistic references. So of course, knowledge is power, and the more experiences you have with someone the more you can feel like you trust them and know where you’re headed.

ADTV: There are over 20 sets, but which one was your favorite to design?

DK: The two that stand out to me are the ones that exist as the purest microcosm of what we were trying to do with the whole production: Frenchy’s bedroom into “Freddy My Love” (which is really two sets), and the Frosty Palace into “Beauty School Dropout.” I love that these both start in realistic, grounded places, that are very nuanced and dramaturgically specific with all sorts of detail and narrative driven ideas. Then, they both elevate and explode into these magical/totally abstract spaces that epitomize the “theater” of it all before coming back to reality. It’s like an abstract sandwich on magical realistic bread. The “realistic” versions of these rooms also aren’t exactly “realistic” – we use line and color and texture and perspective and scale to our advantage. They basically only employ 3 colors, they’re very treated theatrical worlds, but the places they heighten to are so much more magical, so it feels like a really big departure.

GREASE: LIVE: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE): (L-R) Actresses Kether Donohue as 'Jan', Carly Rae Jepsen as 'Frenchy', Keke Palmer as 'Marty' and Vanessa Hudgens as 'Rizzo' during the dress rehearsal for GREASE: LIVE airing LIVE Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 (7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed), on FOX. (Photo by Michael Becker/FOX via Getty Images)

How will Grease: Live do with Emmy voters? It’s a bit harder to predict since most of the awards these gentlemen will be considered for are in the Creative Emmy ceremony categories, and they, unfortunately, won’t be aired with the big show. I think every one of these people will be considered for their work with the productiobecause everything was handled so deftly. The direction, scenic design and costume design feel like the surest bets. Kitt could definitely hear his name mentioned, and Woodlee could also be nominated since the choreography is one of the strongest things about the show.

I mentioned on last week’s podcast that Vanessa Hudgens (as Rizzo) could land a surprise nomination in the same vein as Emma Thompson’s nomination last year for Live from Lincoln Center: Sweeney Todd. Hudgens’ stood out in a tight ensemble. Don’t count her out.

Guaranteed Nominations
Outstanding Special Class Program
Production Design

Probable Nominations
Costume Design
Music Direction

Possible Nominations
Vanessa Hudgens, Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

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