Tell me more! The forthcoming Paramount+ series Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies will follow a new crop of singing Rydell High students.
Although the teaser is underscored by the original 1978 film’s classic title track, the new musical comedy series boasts 31 new original songs by hit songwriter Justin Tranter.
“I worked on the show for seven months straight and I still listen to the music every day,” Marisa Davila, who plays Jane, told Entertainment Weekly in December 2022. “There’s absolutely no way you can get tired of them. It’s a no-skip soundtrack. Justin and their team managed to mold together the old ’50s style of music with a modern day take on it.”
The series takes place in 1954 — four years before the events of Grease — and tells the origin story of the Pink Ladies. Before there was Rizzo, Frenchy or Jan, there was Jane, Nancy (Tricia Fukuhara), Olivia (Cheyenne Wells) and Cynthia (Ari Notartomaso).
“The Pink Lady pledge is to act cool, to look cool and to be cool. Till death do us part, think pink,” the foursome recites in the trailer.
Although Rise of the Pink Ladies is a prequel, it was important to creator Annabel Oakes to preserve the spirit of the OG movie, which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
“Fans of the original should be happy,” Oakes told EW in December 2022. “We call Grease the mothership and we always are talking about how we have to pay homage and respect the mothership.”
The Virgingate writer added that she didn’t think a pure reboot was necessary.
“I thought, ‘Nobody needs a new Grease. The original Grease is absolutely perfect.’ But then I thought about it for a second and I thought, ‘What unanswered questions do I have from Grease?’” she explained “Because everything was tied up really nicely with Danny and Sandy. But I was like, ‘What was up with the Pink Ladies? Were those girl gangs real?’ I started googling and I found out that there were real Pink Ladies at the high school of the original creator of Grease, Jim Jacobs.”
Despite respecting the source material, the new show won’t shy away from addressing some aspects of Grease that haven’t aged so well.
“Yeah, there are some lyrics that are problematic. As you see, we reference those in the pilot and other dialogue,” Oakes said during a panel discussion at the 2023 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in January 2023.
She continued: “It was made in [one] time, and it was commenting on another. So, Grease was the ‘70s commenting on the ‘50s. They were telling really subversive, funny songs and stories about the ‘50s from the ‘70s point of view. Now we’re in the 2020s and we get to comment on what they said in the ‘70s and the ‘50s, which is a cool experience.”
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