Brow Beat

This Behind-the-Scenes Video of Grease: Live’s Associate Director Calling Shots Is Mesmerizing

Grease: Live, Fox’s recent entry into the live TV musical genre, “was truly a feat of coordination, with actors careening from set to set between scenes and suspended cameramen filming from the sky,” according to Slate’s Eric Thurm. But those who watched the musical on Sunday night missed out on one of the most impressive parts of the show: its behind-the-scenes direction.

Associate director Carrie Havel has posted a video to Facebook of Fox’s master control room during production, proving that it takes almost as much rhythmic talent to direct a musical like Grease as it does to star in it. In the video, Havel calls out rapid-fire camera shot numbers along to the beat of “Greased Lightning” to keep the broadcast running according to plan. We don’t see her face, but Havel’s matter-of-fact tone suggests she’s not breaking a sweat, even though she barely has time to breathe during brisk lines like “three, two, three, four shot, two, two, three, four …” Like a recent Hamilton #Ham4Ham sidewalk performance highlighting the stage manager’s cues during a major number, Havel’s video is a reminder that live musical theater involves a ton of moving parts that are crucial to the success of the show, but invisible to the viewer.