In a new series, The Pink Ladies’ beginning is revealed


Four years prior to Frenchy, Rizzo, and Sandy donning their own pink jackets, a group of friends from Rydell High School capitalized on their reputation as “bad girls,” dubbed themselves the Pink Ladies, and formed a girl gang. Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, a new musical series with 10 episodes, is currently streaming on Paramount+ and details their formation.

When Rydell High’s quarterback refers to new student Jane Facciano (Marisa Davila) as “easy,” she finds herself in an awkward situation. The story takes place in 1954. Jane bonds with a few other teenage girls who are also having trouble fitting in, including Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ari Notartomaso, and Tricia Fukuhara.

According to the film’s creator, the theme of finding your people permeates the entirety of “Grease.”

“The song ‘I Want More’ (second episode) is the last song that we wrote (for season one),” he explained. “The episode was shot, it was done. .. I had already seen a rough cut. Jane (played by Davila) is so defeated and learns she might not be able to apply for colleges. It’s a devastating moment. Then I got the call that we could add a song to episode two, I was like, ‘She is singing right there.’ The collaboration just never ends in a musical.”

Jamal Sims devised the choreography for the series. Sims created the dance moves for “Encanto,” 2019’s live action “Aladdin” and the first three “Step Up” movies. As dialogue and scenes changed during the writing process, so would the music, and thus the movement. Tranter and Sims mastered their own dance of communicating directly to get the job done.

“There was a lot of stops and starts,” recalled Sims about finding their rhythm. “Then all of a sudden, Justin and I jumped on a call. We were like, ‘Let’s talk to each other.’”

Once they talked directly and “got on the same page, everything opened up,” Sims said. “That’s how we made it work.”

Beyond “Pink Ladies,” Oakes hopes to create a “Grease” cinematic universe much like the MCU, but centered around Rydell High.

“My husband loves ‘Star Wars,’ and I see how much joy he’s gotten out of that universe and how they’ve provided all this depth and context and different worlds. I’ve always wanted a cinematic universe that would speak to me that I could really get into,” she said. “Our show has 20 ensemble dancers who are actors, with their own distinct characters and stuff happening in the background. We have futures and stories for all those people and I can’t wait to tell them.”

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