A cast of newcomers is going to bring those summer nights back to Paramount+ in Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies, a 10-episode prequel series set to launch later in 2022.
The series will take place in 1954, four years before Danny Zuko and his T-birds ruled Rydell High. Actors Marisa Davila, Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ari Notartomaso, Tricia Fukuhara, Shanel Bailey, Madison Thompson, Johnathan Nieves, Jason Schmidt, and Maxwell Whittington-Cooper will all bring to the screen the origin story of The Pink Ladies (audiences have always wondered where it all began, right?).
Annabel Oakes, a veteran of Transparent and Atypical, is in place as showrunner and plans to bring big musical numbers to the small screen and explore the angst of teenage life. Oakes is also in pre-production on The Edge Of Seventeen, a series based on Kelly Fremon Craig’s terrific 2016 coming of age comedy.
Streaming is a beast that needs to be fed and it’s doubtful that anyone has been truly pining for a return to Rydell High, but as Cobra Kai has proven, a legacy sequel or prequel can make for compelling television by turning the themes of the original property on its head.
While the film adaptation of Grease took place in sunny California and was peak ‘70s nostalgia-wave for the rock ‘n’ roll era, kick-started by American Graffiti, Happy Days, and Sha Na Na, the original musical was a darker take on youth subculture set in Chicago (the play was first performed in the notable windy city blues club, Kingston Mines).
It will be interesting to see if the new show lifts a little bit more from the original play. It is exciting that it appears there won’t be any legacy actors returning for Rise Of The Pink Ladies as it could give this new, young, cast a chance to make this take on the Grease Cinematic Universe (well that’s a thing now, isn’t it) rock ‘n’ roll.