When Grease: Live airs on Fox tonight, Eve Plumb will be singing (and maybe dancing) along with Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit and Vanessa Hudgens as she takes on the role of shop teacher Mrs. Murdoch in the adaptation of the classic musical.
Plumb has been acting since she was six years old. She was living in the San Fernando Valley when a children's agent moved in next door. After being sent out on a commercial audition, she got her first part for a fabric softener commercial. The rest, as they say, is history.
Best known for her role as Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch, being a Brady definitely had an effect on her life. "It's obviously still having an effect," Plumb shared, "because everybody is still in love with the show. It's been a very good effect, that everyone loves it and has good memories of it, and that's been great."
After years of playing the middle and Marcia's younger sister, as Jan, Eve was awarded what I considered the "hot husband" on The Brady Brides. Did she feel she got some comeuppance?
Plumb laughed, "That's funny, because I think they were playing him as a nerd. I'm sure Ron Kuhlman (who played Jan's husband, Philip Covington, III) would be happy to know you considered him to be the hot husband!"
While Plumb is connected directly to the '70s in the minds of many, she doesn't necessarily share the same nostalgia for the decade that made her famous. "Since I lived through it, I just don't have a nostalgia for that time, maybe. Even in the '70s, there was a big 1950's nostalgia, which was strange, because that was so close. That was when Grease came out."
Plumb continued, "Everybody was nostalgic. 'In my day, the people were nicer, the air was cleaner, the food was fresher and we all had puppies and roses,' and it's just not true. There is always a hard time. And there's always a great time. Someone needs to start a novel with those two phrases. But nostalgia is always with rose colored glasses."
Although she didn't get the singing and dancing bug early, she's been getting closer to Grease: Live for a long time. Randal Kleiser directed Grease (the movie), and he also directed Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (Plumb played Dawn).
"In later years, I actually did the stage production of Grease that Fran Drescher's husband [Peter Marc Jacobson] produced and played Sandy!"
"I've actually come to singing and dancing really late, and it's actually taken me some time to really feel comfortable with it, but I'm finally feeling comfortable enough to where I'm feeling better at it. I'm not great by any means, but I'm passing!
We'll see how much dancing I have to do in this. [laughs] If they had wanted me to dance, they would have asked me to in the audition, and they didn't. And it's a comedy, so I don't have to be a good dancer. I can be funny." With the director's help, Plumb is going to put her stamp on Mrs. Murdoch and have a lot of fun doing it.
Plumb has also recently finished an independent film called Monsoon. "I'm of the nature I've started to play sassy grandmas, which is fine with me. I'm a tough talkin' grandma."
With all of Plumb's talents, I wondered if she had an ideal career she would choose for herself. Plumb responded, "Life doesn't give you those choices. Whether it's television or movies or theater or painting, I take them as they come. You follow something or you go after something and you either get it or you don't."
Fortunately, Plumb gets to work in lots of mediums and doesn't have to make a choice. Her ideal career is doing exactly what she's doing now. A little bit of everything.
Grease: Live airs on Fox tonight at 7/6c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.