Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies
Grease: The Rise of the Pink Ladies is a ten-episode prequel to the award-winning 1978 movie Grease, which was originally an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. Taking place in 1954, four years before that iconic story unfolded and when American culture started to thrive post-World War II, this brand new series from creator Annabel Oakes is a brilliant depiction of this evolving 50s society. Set in the same high school the first film was staged around, fans can expect a similar construct at Rydell High, where different cliques, such as jocks, cheerleaders and geeks, provide the perfect backstory to the weaved-in tales of teenage sagas that prove just as relevant now as they did back when the classic feature launched.
The series opens with a familiar musical number, Grease Is the Word, whilst the camera pans across a swathe of bouncy teens dancing around in 50s pastel attire, hanging around shiny hot-rod cars and giving it all their musical prowess despite being a relatively new cast to the screen. The choreography by Jamal Sims feels fresh, engaging and pumped full of the same energy as we felt from the original film, as do the 30 new musical numbers from Grammy-winning artist Justin Tranter that the cast regularly break into to help move the story along.
Marisa Davila stars as Jane, our central leading lady. Preppy and confident, with fine-tuned soprano vocals, her charming character takes viewers on a journey of geek-girl-turned-popular because of the guy she’s dating. She discovers her reputation in tatters after he decides to confide intimate details of their romance to his friends before she finds herself drawn to three outcasts who show her their support and set about challenging the rumours. The newly formed quartet – which includes Olivia (Cheyenne Isobel Well,) Cynthia (Ari Notartomasa) and Nancy (Tricia Fukhara) – each bring their own stories to the series and unite in their quest to challenge the misogyny that surrounds them. With confidence and self-worth, they design their own jackets and form a brand new clique of their own called the “Pink Ladies”.
With so many nods to the original film, the show is packed full of nostalgia, even down to the clothing, the props and the Frosty Palace hangout. Kitsch and entertaining, the storylines are meaningful, representative of the era and give a more detailed backstory to the T-Birds, the Pink Ladies and the original storylines of Grease. There’s a lot that Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies sets out to accomplish: it takes a deeper look at racism, stereotypes and gender equality for starters, but most of all, this series is a brilliant and colourful new musical that won’t disappoint fans of the original movie.
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies is released on Paramount+ on 7th April 2023. Watch our interview with the cast here.
Watch the trailer for Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies here: