Fox’s television event Grease: Live is packed with stars, including Julianne Hough, Vanessa Hudgens and Carly Rae Jepsen. One of its biggest casting surprises came in the form of the Teen Angel, played in the movie by Frankie Avalon. For Grease: Live, R&B’s biggest boy band, Boyz II Men, will take collective duty of the dreamy role, serenading Jepsen’s Frenchy with the iconic “Beauty School Dropout.”
“It’s definitely a classic, and you don’t want to go too far away from the original,” member Nathan Morris revealed to Rolling Stone while en route to the group’s first rehearsal with the full cast. “We’ll add our vocal Boyz II Men spin. It definitely won’t be the same, but we’ll try to hold up to the integrity of what it really was in the beginning because that’s what everybody fell in love with.”
The group’s invitation to join the cast was sent from the studio to the trio’s management company, and as soon as it was offered to them, the singers jumped on the chance. “[‘Beauty School Dropout’] is not just a great song, but it was performed by Frankie Avalon who is actually from our neighborhood in Philly,” Morris says. “When we were asked to do it, it was a no-brainer for us to take over for a great Philly icon and vocalist.”
The performance comes at the beginning of a huge year for Boyz II Men: 2016 is the group’s 25th anniversary. They recently signed on for three more years of their residence at Las Vegas’ Mirage and have even more news coming for longtime fans of the group. “We’re trying to put some really special things together,” Morris promises of the next year.
Even though performing in a live, televised musical is a new venture for Boyz II Men, Morris assures that the group is not nervous for Sunday night. “This is what we’ve done since we were kids,” he says. “Performing live is what we do. Recording records nowadays is more like a promotional thing. We enjoy doing that but we actually enjoy singing live more because it’s an instant reaction and you get a single shot. It’s like the Super Bowl: You either win or you lose, and we like those odds.”
Grease: Live airs on Fox Sunday, January 31st at 7pm EST/6pm CT.