Rosie O'donnell in GREASE

TrulyOutrageousJem
Chorus Member
joined:7/10/12
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/3/12 at 02:38pm
I saw Rosie in Grease when I was in middle school and have recently re-fallen in love with the soundtrack. I've been looking for footage of the show on line but can't seem to find any that has Rosie in it. She didn't perform with them at the Tony's. And I remember Fox 5 did a thing for the holidays where GREASE performed christmas songs but I don't recall Rosie being there either. Does any one know why she never performed with them outside the show? I remember loving her in the show. What were the reviews like? What did you all think of her performance, if you saw it?
goodoneinlou2
Stand-by
joined:5/29/09
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/3/12 at 03:02pm
I am one of the few, like yourself, that enjoyed the overtly campy and neon revival in the '90's. I saw it at least a half dozen times - with various B actors and actresses playing the various roles. (All of which were far to old for that parts they were playing - but that was part of the fun.)

I'll be honest... I was NOT a fan of Rosie. Her name sold tickets... but that's about it. She had some great one liners, but her voice and "sincerity" as Rizzo were as bad as it gets (IMO.) She's to be credited for making it a hit revival - but she was obviously bored with the role just a few months into her run. She was constantly breaking the 4th wall when I saw it and clocking her time while singing horribly off-key.

She didn't perform at the Tonys with the cast as you said - and there's very little footage of her in the role. You can catch a few videos online of her in numbers like "Freddie my Love" (With a then unknown Megan Mulally) but nothing substantial. She did a lot of pre-Broadway press and commericals - but that's about it. Here's a link to a tv review of the show that features Rosie in the role.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9YtJ3z4KKY

A few years later when she hosted the Tony awards, she did sing the "Greased Lightnin reprise" with male members of the cast as a part of her opening medley.

BTW, I think the cast of Grease was on a New Years Eve special too. If memory serves me, it featured Debbie Boone (a much later Rizzo) lip synching to the Rosie cast album on top of a building. Terrible.

Quite honestly, the thing I LOVED about the revival was the music. John McDaniel (Who became Rosie's bandleader on the talk show) did wonders with the re-orchestration of the songs. Sam Harris delivered one of the most show stopping performances I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. His "Those Magic Changes" is simply incredible... and he stopped the show every single night!!! He really didn't stay in the role too long, from what I recall, and all of the subsequent "Doody" actors paled by comparison.

I fell in love with Susan Wood as Sandy. She was PERFECT for that role. I wish she had gone on to do much more on Broadway. She was a great talent and should have been a big name. (Ashley Spencer in the recent Grease revival had the same quality - pitch perfect and absolutely stunning to look at.)

What's funny is, whenever I'm in NYC and pass by the Eugene O'Neil I always think of the 90's Grease. Heck, when I saw Mormon at the O'Neil, I kept drifting back to memories of Grease.

As a side note, prior to the revival opening on Broadway, Tommy Tune did some sort of promotional tie-in with a televised pageant (I think) where a medley of Grease songs were performed live. Seems like it was Miss America, or USA or such. I distincly recall it, then the next thing you knew, the show was back on Broadway. I'd love to find out the details of my memory, and if those in that tv spot were the original revival cast members.

Finally, I also recall either reading an article or seeing something on tv that John Stamos was supposed to originate Danny in the Rosie revival - but it fell through when he remained committed to a final season of his sitcom. Never had that verified - maybe someone knows that as well?

Updated On: 12/3/12 at 03:02 PM
BrodyFosse123
Broadway Legend
joined:2/27/06
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/3/12 at 03:38pm
The performance you're referring to was at the 1993 Miss America Pageant and yes, this was a preview for the already announced 1994 Broadway revival of GREASE! Producer Tommy Tune does the intro and yes, the performers are wearing different wigs and costumes than the ones eventually created for this revival. I believe only Ricky Paul Goldin, who played Danny Zuko in the revival, is in this TV appearance. That is definitely NOT Susan Wood.

Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCsYsbtVnNI

Here's footage of Rosie as Betty Rizzo in the 1994 Broadway revival of GREASE!:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9YtJ3z4KKY
So what does that make you, Brody? A zero-trick pony? - Wanna Be A Foster .........................The only power brody wields is in his own mind, joe. But it's amusing to watch him pretend nonetheless. - tazber
goodoneinlou2
Stand-by
joined:5/29/09
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/3/12 at 03:54pm
That's it!

Are you sure that's not Susan Wood though? Sure looks and sounds like her!

I also recognize Jason Opshal who went on to play Kenicke.

Some of the sets (lockers) and choreography were retained from this medley for the Broadway show. Obviously "Hopelessly Devoted to You" was not retained and replaced with "Since I Don't Have You."

I haven't seen that in nearly 20 years, thanks for sharing

muscle23ftl
Broadway Legend
joined:12/19/04
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/3/12 at 05:07pm
I think it was Clive Barnes who said: "She can't sing, she can't dance, she's terrific"!

I got to see her in Fiddler on the Roof and Rosie was fantastic in that. She brought a lot of comedy to the show, and that made up for her singing, which was good enough by the way.
"People have their opinions and that doesn't mean that their opinions are wrong or right. I just take it with a grain of salt because opinions are like as*holes, everyone has one". -Felicia Finley-
TrulyOutrageousJem
Chorus Member
joined:7/10/12
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/3/12 at 05:54pm
goodoneinlou2 thanks for sharing the review! It was nice to see the sets/costumes again. Just as I remembered it.

I agree, Sam Harris was AMAZING. I bought the cd and used to play that song over and over again and sing along.

I think I saw one of the early performances for the show. It wasn't a preview but it was certainly early on. Maybe that's why I enjoyed Rosie so much. I remember finding her, and the rest of the show, hilarious and delightful.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/3/12 at 06:12pm
Didn't they have an issue in the end with not wanting to pay the rights for Hopelessly Devoted--that's why they used that 60s (50s?) standard instead? I admit, one thing I did like about that revival (it always amuses me howit was sold as the Tommy Tune production--I guess he was executive producer and creative director or something, but...) was that it largely stuck to the original show score.

I swear there was a sorta 30 minute infomercial for the show with some Rosie clips that used to be on youtube. I know I'm not thinking of the Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public infomercial from around the same time, that used to be on youtube as well...

I saw the productionon tour with Adrian Zmed from Grease 2... I was pretty much dragged to it (as a teenager--oddly I was much more familiar with Grease 2 than the first movie, I think because the sequel would often air on afternoon tv when I was a kid), and admit I kinda enjoyed it.
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/3/12 at 09:52pm
I saw it out of town twice, back when I was a cub reporter. It was fun. Rosie was fun, Sam Harris was fun, the production was fun. Jeff Calhoun was a chatty Cathy, surprised by the fact that more gay people weren't taking to the show given all the (not at all out) gaiety onstage, with Rosie, Sam and Billy Porter up there.
yes, you
Leadingplayer
Broadway Star
joined:5/12/03
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/4/12 at 12:20pm
Why did she not perform on the Tony's...she presented that year so she was in the building!
musicaltheatreman2
Stand-by
joined:3/3/08
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:53pm
did they use hand held mics in this production to give it more of a concert feel? and did they use them just for the musical numbers or for spoken lines as well?
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/6/12 at 08:22pm
I saw this production as well..at least half a dozen times as well...it was a lot of fun...the cast was very energetic..Sam Harris and Billy Porter always stopped the show with their numbers. I didn't care too much for Rosie...I liked Brooke Shields better...but I absolutely loved Ricky Paull Goldin and Susan Wood as Danny and Sandy.

GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/6/12 at 08:26pm
I saw the productionon tour with Adrian Zmed from Grease 2... I was pretty much dragged to it (as a teenager--oddly I was much more familiar with Grease 2 than the first movie, I think because the sequel would often air on afternoon tv when I was a kid), and admit I kinda enjoyed it.

I don't know about the later tour, but back in the 1970s, Adrian Zmed was an excellent Danny Zuko, years before GREASE 2. I saw him several times.
theatredk
Chorus Member
joined:10/26/06
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/6/12 at 08:58pm
It is a Cast Album NOT soundtrack this is from the movies as the word implies it is the from the soundtrack on the film
musicaltheatreman2
Stand-by
joined:3/3/08
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/6/12 at 11:06pm
did they use hand held mics in this production to give it more of a concert feel? and did they use them just for the musical numbers or for spoken lines as well?

FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/6/12 at 11:19pm
I have no memory of hand mikes.
yes, you
ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/6/12 at 11:26pm
did they use hand held mics in this production to give it more of a concert feel? and did they use them just for the musical numbers or for spoken lines as well?

#sadandtransparent
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Rosie O'donnell in GREASE
Posted: 12/6/12 at 11:41pm
They had hand mikes--but so did the the original production... (This is a recreation of the orginal Pat Birch staging, with the two leads ten years later, but with costumes and designs not remotely the same--but the mikes are) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk9NZSTzvEY

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