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Vanessa Hudgens Steals The Show As Rizzo In Grease: Live Only One Day After Her Father’s Death

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Feb. 1 2016, Updated 1:35 p.m. ET

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The show must go on! Vanessa Hudgens didn’t miss a beat in her performance as Rizzo in Grease: Live despite the death of her father only hours before she hit the stage.

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Before her highly acclaimed performance, the High School Musical star turned to Twitter to reveal the news of her father’s death. “I am so sad to say that last night my daddy, Greg passed away from stage 4 cancer,” she wrote. “Thank you to everyone who kept him in your prayers. Tonight, I do the show in his honor.”

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And that she did, as critics and celebrities praised the actress for outshining even the show’s lead stars Julianne Hough as Sandy and Aaron Tveit as Danny. “Imagine if you had a day like @VanessaHudgens & performed like that,” co-star Mario Lopez tweeted. “Wow. What a strong woman. My new hero.”

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Despite her loss, Vanessa knew she couldn’t turn down the coveted role. “I honestly can’t remember the first time I saw Grease,” she said. “I feel like Grease has just always been a part of my life. It’s always been on in my house. I can’t remember my life before Grease almost.”

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She explained how she had “grown” to love her character. “She has a really tough shell, but inside she’s got a tender heart,” she explained. “But she’s not going to let anyone see it unless she wants them too.”

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