Get ready to see four lovely young women who are all ahead of their time in Paramount+’s upcoming series, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies! The show makes its debut on Thursday, April 6, 2023 on the streamer.
The 10-episode season takes place four years before the original Grease film that starred Olivia Newton and John Travolta. The musical series is set in 1954 before “rock ‘n’ roll ruled” and before the T-Birds were “the coolest in the school,” per the synopsis. When a group of four outcasts decide to “have fun” the way they want to, they’re going to spark changes in Rydell High. And those are, the Pink Ladies!
Ahead of the show’s premiere, Hidden Remote had the opportunity to speak with the four jacket-sporting gals about their characters, experiences on set, and what it means to be Pink. Read on below and make sure to scroll down to the end to watch the video interview!
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
Meet the four Pinks from Paramount+’s Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies
The Pink Ladies
Hidden Remote: What does the Pink Ladies represent for each of your characters?
Marisa Davila: For Jane, it’s that people finally want to listen to her and support her. She feels very supported and guided by the Pinks. She’s a natural born leader, but also wouldn’t be who she is without the Pink Ladies I think.
Cheyenne Isabel Wells: I think for Olivia, the Pinks just let her be herself. I feel like a lot of people look at her and they’re like – it’s just the outside of her [they see] and not who she really is. And so. she finally finds people who can just let her be herself and let her have fun and get over all that.
Ari Notartomaso: Cynthia, we find her at the beginning of the series trying to fit in with the T-Birds. She’s friends with them, she loves them, she pals around with them everyday, and she really wants to be a T-Bird. She wants to find that community. She doesn’t really fit in with what is expected of young women in the 1950s and she loves the way that the T-Birds and their gang really stand up for each other. They’re there for each other all the time. So she really wants to be a part of that, and they reject her. And so, she’s sort of back to square one feeling no one sees her, she doesn’t fit in anywhere. And then she meets this group of outcasts, the other Pink Ladies – that become the Pink Ladies. And then the rest of the series is trying to figure out where you fit in, how you stand out, and how you can still love each other despite your differences.
Tricia Fukuhara: We find Nancy at the beginning with her friends. And she’s got two best friends from childhood. They’ve grown up together, the three musketeers. But her friends now have boyfriends and Nancy is not interested in that. That’s not her priority. Her priority is becoming a famous fashion designer and that is just not seen as ok. She’s trying to stand out, she’s ahead of her time in her fashion and in her thinking, and her friends don’t support her. They don’t accept her. She gets dumped by them immediately in the first episode. And so, she’s left alone with no friends at all. And then she finds these Pinks who are standing up for something, who are embracing the fact that they’re different, and these people support her for who she is. She can be true to herself and have the support of her friends around her. So it’s camaraderie, it’s sisterhood, it’s about standing up for other people. It’s about loving each other. It’s [about] so much.
Paying homage to Grease
HR: Are there any teases or easter eggs from the original movie fans should be on the lookout for?
Wells: I think people will be pleasantly surprised when they watch the first couple of episodes. And I think they’ll be happy about it. There’s a lot of little easter eggs throughout the whole series.
HR: Both of you have a theatre background, and the show is very big and theatrical. So what was it like to kind of do theatre on a set?
Fukuhara: I feel like most of us have trained our entire lives for this moment. So it’s really special to be able to share all of those skills with the world. And also, in a world that is so iconic and nostalgic, which is a lot of responsibility. But we take a lot of pride in that. And to even get the opportunity to do something like this on screen is extra special because I feel like we don’t see a lot of musicals and musical series. So it’s really nice to be on set with everyone and to get to sing and dance and have a party everyday.
Notartomaso: I went to school for musical theatre, so I sort of learned to deliver lines to the back of the audience and keep the whole wide angle in view. And then we get on set and the camera’s like four inches from your face. I feel like you can sort of see throughout the series that I sort of learn how to be on camera which is really fun. It was a huge challenge. The scale of musical theatre and Grease generally is so big. There’s so much to fit. But our frames are nice and wide so you can fit a lot in there, and I feel like our show sort of bridges the perfect meld of TV and the campiness that musical theatre can be.
HR: What was it like to perform “Grease is the Word” and pay homage to the original film, while the series had its own take on the song?
Davila: It’s for a new generation. The little nods are sprinkled in there for the generation that fell in love with it. And we get to introduce this world and these new characters to a new generation, which is a big honor and responsibility. But I’m so certain with the characters that [showrunner] Annabel [Oakes] has created, that they’ve taken so much time to create this depth of very specific experiences. And I think everyone’s going to be able to watch and be like, ‘oh I feel that way or I am this character, or I know somebody that’s like this character, and therefore I understand them a little bit better.’
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies premieres Thursday, April 6, 2023 on Paramount+.