Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the Tony Award and Pulitzer-winning songwriters behind Next to Normal and If/Then, have penned a new song for the Fox musical event Grease: Live, which will hit television screens across the world later this month.
"There is a new song," Kitt, who provides music supervision for the show, told Playbill.com on the set of Grease: Live on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, CA. "Brian Yorkey and I have written [it]. I look at this kind of in the same way I look at American Idiot. Grease is a classic, iconic work that does not need me to come in and do anything that's going to take away from what it is. Everything that I'm doing is just trying to serve the story and the beauty that's already there… We found some reprise moments [from pre-existing] themes and threaded that into the story and some other places.
"The new song is a song for Frenchy's character. Having Carly Rae [Jepsen] in this production and not having [a song] for Frenchy, it just seemed like, 'Here's an opportunity,' and it's a song moment — that moment of being adrift and sort of lost and questioning. That's when musical theatre songs happen — when someone is feeling something very emotional and searching for something and that tension."
In the musical Carly Rae Jepsen's character is the only Pink Lady who does not have a song of her own (she is only sung to by Teen Angel in "Beauty School Dropout," whereas the other girls take on classics such as "Freddy, My Love," "Mooning" and "There Are Worse Things I Could Do").
Kitt was unable to provide any more details, including song titles or where they fit in the show, but shared his excitement for the pop stars aboard the project.
It has also been revealed that Didi Conn and Barry Pearl, who played Frenchy and Doody, respectively, in the 1978 film, will cameo in the Fox broadcast. Conn will play Vi, the waitress, originated by Joan Blondell in the original film.
"We have Jessie J singing 'Grease is the Word' and Boyz II Men singing 'Beauty School Dropout,' so when you have that, of course, we're going to rise up to meet their brilliance with the arrangements, but still be very faithful to what's there. I think that people, especially people who know it, will recognize it [and] hopefully feel like we have honored it in our way, but also because of this new medium — this television musical, and the way that [director] Tommy [Kail] is shooting it and how it moves — there are new elements that have to come with an adaptation like this, and so far they've all felt like they're coming from the right place."
The cast also includes Julianne Hough as Sandy, Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko, Andrew Call as Sonny, David Del Rio as Putzie, Kether Donohue as Jan, Jordan Fisher as Doody, Ana Gasteyer as Principal, Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo, Mario Lopez as Vince Fontaine, Carlos PenaVega as Kenickie, Eve Plumb as Mrs. Murdock and KeKe Palmer as Marty.
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