“Dancing With the Stars” performer and judge, Julianne Hough, is taking on the role of Sandy in the televised “Grease: Live” set for 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, on FOX.
The actress/dancer talks about the production and dance.
QUESTION: How has past work prepared you for this live TV broadcast?
JULIANNE HOUGH: I feel like whether you are on stage performing, that live audience element helps so much. I always say that we can be in rehearsal or on stage and give a hundred percent, but when there’s an audience, there’s this extra little umph that that’s where magic happens, and that’s why I think we are so excited that we have the live audience element.
Q: Is this bigger than just doing it on stage?
JH: I just I’m excited for people to watch it at home, too, because that’s how we are creating it. It’s for television. So when people our families, our friends, people are introducing their kids for the first time to “Grease,” they are going to feel really involved as well. They are going to be singing along and dancing, I hope.
Q: Have you played the role before?
JH: I put the production on in my basement when I was, like, five years old. I was Sandy, and, then, during the dance scene, I turned into Cha Cha, and, then, I went back to Sandy.
Q: What’s it like working with another choreographer in Zach Woodlee?
JH: Zach is amazing. And I would never ever go in there and try and do anything. But if there are times when we’re just sitting around, I’m like, “Hey, guys, do you need help with that little bit? I can walk you through it if you want.”
Q: How was the meeting with Olivia Newton-John who is the best known Sandy for the feature film?
JH: When I met her, she, I didn’t even say anything to her first. She just said, “I hear you’re playing Sandy. Oh, my goodness. Congratulations. You’re just perfect for it.” And I was, like and I almost started crying because I was like, “This is my, like, hero. This is my 5 year old dream.” So for her to kind of give me that kind of blessing to take that weight of, like, “I hope I make her proud” has been very just opening. And I can come here and discover Sandy for myself and still honor what Olivia did. And yeah, I hope that she’s watching, and John and everybody. And I mean, she’s better than you hoped she would be.