Vanessa Hudgens had a bittersweet night on Sunday. Yes, she got on stage and gave the most incredible performance as Betty Rizzo in Fox’s Grease Live. Unfortunately, despite her amazing performance onstage, she was grieving inside. People reports that she announced her father’s death just hours before the performance via Twitter.
I am so sad to say that last night my daddy, Greg passed away from stage 4 cancer. Thank you to everyone who kept him in your prayers.
— Vanessa Hudgens (@VanessaHudgens) January 31, 2016
Fans everywhere praised Vanessa Hudgens for her amazing performance, especially under the circumstances.
— Robbie Rozelle (@divarobbie) February 1, 2016
I will never underestimate Vanessa Hudgens again. #GreaseLive
— Michael Ausiello (@MichaelAusiello) February 1, 2016
Imagine you had Vanessa Hudgens' day, and doing that.
What a superhero.
In total awe.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) February 1, 2016
Vanessa Hudgens has been a fan of Grease since her childhood and explained to People how much she loved the movie growing up.
“From the first time I saw it, I kind of just remember it being a part of my childhood. I always knew all the songs. It’s just one of those musicals that you never get sick of because it’s so much fun. It feels like a big party and you get to be a part of it. When I got the call saying that they were interested in me as Rizzo I said, really? Because I’ve always thought of myself as Sandy and the more that I thought over it, the more that I realized that this was an awesome opportunity to play a character that I’ve never played before… she’s so strong and such an amazing woman figure in musical theater history.”
The Washington Post reveals that Vanessa Hudgens’ dad was instrumental to her success as an actress. The family uprooted to Los Angeles so that Hudgens could make it to auditions and pursue her acting career, but her father worked in San Diego as a firefighter. He would commute the long distance, and the family would skimp by just to be sure that Vanessa Hudgens had the chance to succeed. Obviously, the sacrifice paid off.
“My parents gave up so much. He would keep driving back to the same place that he worked every time we moved. By the end, the commute was not fun.”
With Grease Live over, Entertainment Weekly reports that Vanessa Hudgens took to Instagram to thank everyone for their support.
“I can’t believe @gogrease is OVER! Grand opening and grand closing. Thank you to everyone who watched and supported me last night. Doing #greaselive was one of the most incredible experiences and I’m so glad you guys liked it as much as I did. Till next time Rizz…”
During the ending credits of Grease Live, there was a tribute to Vanessa Hudgens’ father, which was touching.
“In loving memory of Greg Hudgens. June 22, 1950 – January 30, 2016”
Vanessa Hudgens’ sister, Stella, posted it on Instagram.
“Wow, #GreaseLive was unbelievably amazing. So proud of everyone who made it possible! So so proud of Vanessa. You shine so bright. I know daddy is smiling down on you.”
Prior to going onstage at the show on Sunday, Vanessa Hudgens was clearly grieving. Producer Marc Platt spoke with Variety about how she shone that night despite the tragedy in her life.
“It was incredibly brave of her. She’s a professional, but she’s also a human being and a daughter. I looked at her in the eyes and said can you do this? I think your dad would want you to do this, and she said she knew that he would. She knew that she had to do it. She knew that she had to put that in a box for a few hours and use it to fuel her performance.”
Naturally, now that the show is over, Vanessa Hudgens has to face the week ahead, making funeral preparations for her father. She had originally announced her father’s illness last August while accepting an award at the 2015 Industry Dance Awards.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]