In something of a reversed “you vs. the guy she told you not to worry about” meme, CBS has announced what it will be doing with the Sunday night time slot in June that was held for the Tonys (which are of course on hold due to coronavirus). Are they running highlights from the Tony Awards of yore? No. Airing at-home performances from would-be nominees from this years slate of new shows? Also so. Obtaining the rights to show the YouTube Sondheim 90th Birthday concert? Nope, nope, nope. Instead … CBS has decided it will show a sing-along version of Grease as part of the channel’s weekly Sunday Night Movie series.
Grease is the word. Have you heard? Yes. Yes, I have. [Long sigh.] Look, I love Grease as much as the next person. I had a Grease-themed birthday in the second grade. I’ve felt that special joy of rewatching it later in life and going yikes, this whole thing doesn’t hold up great at all! I particularly enjoyed the very specific pain that is being in a local children’s production of the show only to learn that “You’re the One that I Want,” the movie’s big, sexy finale wasn’t in the original stage version and was only added into the Broadway show in the last revival so if your school is cheap you get the old, boring finale, “All Choked Up.” (Real ones will know.) But watching the lyrics to “Summer Nights” bounce along my television screen on June 7 is not my ideal Tonys stand-in.
Give me Avenue Q upsetting Wicked and prompting a wave of ads reading, “Did we mention we won the Tony.” Show me Bette Midler finally getting her due. I want to watch little Daisy Eagan win for The Secret Garden and make an elementary school me extremely jealous. I want Jennifer Holliday wailing on “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Make me cry with Steve Kazee’s speech about his mom for his Once win and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s, “love is love is love is love.” NPH rapping. Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury doing Mame. Any clip ever of Audra McDonald opening her perfect mouth. Please. There are worse things you (CBS) could do. (Air a Grease sing-along instead.)
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