New ‘Grease’ Series Tells the Story Behind the Pink Ladies with Original Music by Justin Tranter

Paramount+ is taking a trip back to the 1950s, and to the iconic 1978 musical film Grease, in a new prequel series that will reveal the story behind the Pink Ladies of Rydell High.

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Full of young romance, dance numbers, and a soundtrack of new original music, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, premieres on April 6. The new series will take place in 1954, four years before the original Grease, which starred the late Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta and the first Pink Ladies played by Stockard Channing (Betty Rizzo), Didi Conn (Frenchy), Dinah Manoff (Marty Maraschino), and Jamie Donnelly (Jan).

Written and executive produced by the show creator Annabel Oakes (Minx, Atypical), Rise of the Pink Ladies is centered on the ascension of four outcast girls at Rydell High who form the Pink Ladies. The film stars Marisa Davila as Jane, Cheyenne Isabel Wells as Olivia, Ari Notartomaso as Cynthia, and Tricia Fukuhara as Nancy.

Davila, who plays the more “nerdy” Jane in the series, said the story around the Pink Ladies could fit into any era since it’s the story about teenagers trying to navigate adulthood. “The characters run into a lot of the same situations that people in the present day might be dealing with,” said Davila.

Though, the series won’t be stuck in the typical issues that young people faced in the 1950s. It is structured to touch on different storylines, including social justice, which may not have been central in the 1978 film.

“Any time you do a period piece, you are using a little bit of a modern lens and you’re talking about what’s different and also what hasn’t changed,” said showrunner Oakes. “It’s really interesting to go down both of those paths at once.”

The 10-episode prequel series will also feature new original music, written and executive produced by Justin Tranter, who was the singer of Semi Precious Weapons through 2014. Tranter has since written songs for Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Imagine Dragons, and Måneskin, among others. Tranter is also responsible for the choreography of the musical numbers on the show. 

Photo: Eduardo Araquel/Paramount

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