As Grease: Live opens, performer Jessie J sings “Grease is the Word” as she winds her way through bustling high school sets, backstage hallways, dressing rooms and even outdoors in one long, single shot.
That dynamic opening set the pace for the rest of the live production, which premiered on Fox in January of this year. Grease: Live is the most recent production in a spate of musical revivals embraced by broadcast networks in search of the high ratings that come with live events.
More than 12 million people tuned in to watch Rydell High’s Sandy and Danny, played by Julianne Hough and Aaron Tveit, reminisce on those summer nights, be born to hand jive, and of course, experience an electrifying carnival connection.
Grease: Live is a technically complex production that’s constantly in motion. Cameras follow a large cast over multiple locations and incorporate an audience that’s actually sitting on set. The show received 10 Emmy nominations, including one for our guest, director Thomas Kail.
Kail is also the Tony-winning director of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway juggernaut Hamilton. Before that, he directed Miranda’s first Broadway musical, In the Heights.
When Kail recently talked to host of The Business, Kim Masters, he recalled that his very first encounter with Miranda--while they were both students at Wesleyan--wasn’t exactly positive. Fortunately, they would go on to reconnect after Kail graduated.