By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
I have to wonder how those lucky fans present at the taping of Grease Live! got to see the entire show when the production spanned across two sound stages and an outdoor set? Was there a huge screen that it was played on at the Warner Bros Studios lot? The broadcast certainly showed the energy and enthusiasm for the lucky 500 or so folks who got to participate on set (especially in the school gym), but the show is not true live theatre; by the time it was shown on the west coast the social media aspect of live tweeting was already on repeat.
It’s easy to notice that some musical numbers were prerecorded so the performers can concentrate on their moves while others were indeed live, where musicians are visibly performing. Unless the microphones are seen (these days, they are so tiny because an eagle eye is needed to spot how they are taped close to the body), I just have to wonder how the sound was mixed in order for it to be ready for television broadcast. Other media outlets reported on the sound issue the East Coast broadcast had and it was fixed for the evening West Coast edition. Warts and all, I would have appreciated observing that earlier show.
If a truly live broadcast is supposed to have that real-time feeling, it would be playing across the continent at each time zone’s respective hour. The show probably started around 4pm PST for airing at 7pm EST. To get the feeling of a real time production means tuning into a national public broadcasting station for one of their telethons.