The show must go on.
And for Vanessa Hudgens, that meant overcoming a major personal tragedy in order to perform in Sunday night’s Grease: Live. The actress learned soon before the show that her father had lost his battle with cancer.
“I am so sad to say that last night my daddy, Greg passed away from stage 4 cancer,” Hudgens tweeted Sunday. “Thank you to everyone who kept him in your prayers.”
She followed up with another tweet, writing, “Tonight, I do the show in his honor.”
Hudgens, who played Rizzo in Sunday’s live broadcast of the famous musical, opened up about her father’s diagnosis in August.
“Last year, my boyfriend Austin lost his mom Lori to cancer, and my dad has just been recently diagnosed with stage four cancer,” she said. “Let me tell you, I hate cancer. I hate cancer with every cell of my being.”
She continued, “If you would have asked me two years ago what I thought of cancer, I would have said, ‘Man, you know it sucks. It’s a horrible disease,’ but that’s only because I had not been faced with it personally. This award, it means a lot to me. But I dedicate it to my boyfriend’s mom, Lori, my dad, and to all the families out there who are struggling with this because it really takes a strong person and a strong family to be able to help those out who are going through this.”
Despite the tough circumstances Hudgens is facing, she opened up to People magazine before the show about how excited she was to take part in a musical that impacted her as a performer.
“From the first time I saw it, I kind of just remember it being a part of my childhood,” she said. “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.”