Grease: The Pink Ladies origin story in Paramount+ series
Four years before Frenchie, Lizzo, and Sandy donned their pink jackets, a group of friends at Rydell High School leaned toward the “bad girl” image and called themselves the Pink Ladies, forming a girl gang. Their formation is chronicled in the new 10-episode musical series Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, now streaming on Paramount+.
Set in 1954, freshman Jane Facciano (Marisa Davila) is abruptly expelled after being labeled “easy” by the Rydell High School quarterback. Jane ends up bonding with several other teenage girls (played by Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ali Notartomaso, and Tricia Fukuhara) who struggle to fit in in their own way. increase.
That theme of finding your people looms large over “Grease” as a whole, says creator Annabel Oakes.
“When I say The Pink Lady and the T-Birds, I’m like, ‘Oh, they’re the cool kids at school.’ Cool Young ain’t cool Frenchie ain’t cool Sonny (and) Doody ain’t cool Graduating from high school together and I love talking about friendships like that.”
“Rise of the Pink Ladies” is a blast with 30 original songs and a cover of the beloved song “Grease” by Frankie Valli (lyrics by Barry Gibb) for the 1978 film.
The song “Pink Ladies” is by hitmaker Justin Tranter, who collaborates with the who’s who list of recording artists. Tranter has helped write songs such as Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Imagine Dragons’ “Believer,” and DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean.”
“I got into music in the first place because it was the movie musicals, whether it was Grease, Annie, or The Little Mermaid. I did,” Tranter said.
Oakes and the writers use Tranter’s input to decide where to insert the musical number in the episode.
“There’s always a rule that when you’re too emotional to talk, you sing,” Oakes said.
However, there were moments when Tranter felt he had no musical opportunities. When the cast was filming episode 10, Tranter still wanted one more song for the second episode.
“The song ‘I Want More'[Episode 2]was the last song we wrote[for Season 1],” they explained. I had already watched the rough cut.Jane (played by Davila) is so defeated and learns she may not be able to apply to college.It’s a devastating moment.Then I’m in Episode 2 When I got the call that a song could be added, I was like, ‘She’s singing right there. Collaboration never ends with musicals. ”
Jamal Sims devised the choreography for the series. Sims created the dance moves for ‘Encanto’, 2019’s live his action ‘Aladdin’, and the first of his three ‘Step Up’ films. As the lines and scenes change during the writing process, the music and movements also change. Trantor and Sims have mastered their own dance of direct communication to get the job done.
“There were a lot of stops and starts,” Sims recalled finding their rhythm. “Then all of a sudden Justin and I jumped on the phone and we were like, ‘Let’s talk to each other.’
“Once they spoke in person and got to the same page, it all opened up,” Sims said. “That’s how we made it work.”
Beyond ‘Pink Ladies’, Oakes wants to create a ‘Grease’ cinematic universe much like the MCU, but with Rydell High at its center.
“My husband loves ‘Star Wars’ and how much he gets from that universe and how they have provided this depth and context and different worlds. I could really get in,” she said. “Our show features an actor, her 20-person ensemble and his dancers, with unique characters and events happening in the background. I have and can’t wait to tell them.”