Paramount+ is hoping its latest series will be the one that you want. Like greased lightnin’ (go greased lightnin’), the “Grease” prequel series “Rise of the Pink Ladies” is racing to the streamer on April 6, in time for you to binge it over those summer nights eventually. Paramount+ announced the news from their January 9 presentation for the Television Critic’s Association Winter press tour and, because there are worse things they could do, released a short teaser for the teen musical series to accompany it.
The series is a prequel to “Grease,” the 1978 film itself adapted from the 1971 stage musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Directed by Randal Kleiser, the movie was led by John Travolta and the late Olivia Newton-John as star-crossed greaser Danny Zuko and good girl Sandy Olsson, but the film became a cultural sensation (raking in $366.2 million at the global box office) thanks in part to the memorable supporting cast, especially the Pink Ladies girl gang led by Stockard Channing as the hard-edged Rizzo.
“Rise of the Pink Ladies” tells the origin story of the Pink Ladies, set in 1954 (four years before the original film) and chronicles how the original members of the group came to rule Rydell High. Marisa Davila, Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ari Notartomaso, and Tricia Fukuhara play the four founding women of the Pink Ladies, while Shanel Bailey, Madison Thompson, Johnathan Nieves, Jason Schmidt, and Maxwell Whittington-Cooper play their various love interests and rivals in the high school ecosystem. Jackie Hoffman also stars in the series as Assistant Principal McGee, a role played in the original film by Eve Arden. The series was created by Annabel Oakes, who executive produces with Marty Bowen and Erik Feig.
“Rise of the Pink Ladies” will be the first extension of the “Grease” cinematic universe since 1982’s “Grease 2,” which featured an almost entirely new cast of characters and received negative reviews at the time, although it has since developed a devoted fanbase and helped launch Michelle Pfeiffer to stardom through her performance of “Cool Rider.” However, it is not the first “Grease”-themed television program; in addition to the well-received 2016 “Grease: Live!” production on Fox, there was also a 2007 NBC reality series “Grease: You’re the One That I Want!” that saw contestants compete for the roles of Danny and Sandy in a Broadway revival of the stage musical.
And “Grease” fever isn’t going away with “Rise of the Pink Ladies;” Paramount Pictures has another prequel to the original film in development titled “Summer Lovin’.” Focusing on the summer Danny and Sandy spent with one another before the events of the original movie, that prequel will be directed by Brett Haley from a script by Leah McKendrick.
If you’re hopelessly devoted to “Grease,” watch the teaser trailer for “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” below.