Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies - Here's What We Can Tell Fans So Far

Attention all "Grease" fans! We're talking about the hit musical, of course, which several different generations grew up with. The hit movie was released back in 1978 and starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the lead roles. It was quickly followed by the 1982 sequel, "Grease 2," which featured Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer

And now, we're getting another incarnation of "Grease" for a whole new generation of fans. So, if you're a hopelessly devoted "Grease" fan, get ready to break out those pink jackets. The new spin-off is entitled "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" and, as the name suggests, it charts the genesis of everyone's favorite girl gang.  

The prequel series was initially entitled "Grease: Rydell High" when it was announced on October 15, 2019, at the Mipcom conference in Cannes (via Variety). As CNET notes, it was supposed to debut on HBO Max but, after wallowing in development hell for a couple of years, the show found a new home, and a flashy new title, at Paramount+. Here's everything we know so far. 

What is the Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies release date?

According to Good Morning America, "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" will debut on Paramount+ on Thursday, April 6, 2023. Collider suggests that episodes will be released weekly, in a similar manner to other shows which are released on the platform. There are two packages available on Paramount+, which both offer either monthly or weekly subscription plans.

An Essential package will set you back $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year and offers content with few ads, whereas a Premium plan costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year, with viewers being subjected to significantly less ads. Decider confirms that, at the 2023 Television Critics Association winter tour, Paramount+ announced that there will be ten episodes total. 

Although the U.S. and Canada will get to experience the show on April 6, viewers located in the U.K. and Ireland, Australia, Latin America, and other parts of Europe will have to wait until the following day, with episodes following each subsequent Friday. 

Who is in the Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies cast?

A press release (via the New York Daily News) teased that the spin-off will feature "some characters you already know, and a whole lot more you will soon meet." There's no official word yet on whether or not some familiar faces will also be a part of the show, but our fingers are crossed. The biggest name on the cast list is undoubtedly Jackie Hoffman, as Asst. Principal McGee, who was memorably played by the legendary Eve Arden in the original movie. 

Fans will recognize Hoffman for her scene-stealing roles in everything from "Only Murders in the Building" to "Glass Onion." Otherwise, as EW clarifies, the focus is firmly on an all-new girl group this time around and, happily, it's comprised of a host of fresh and refreshingly diverse new faces. Marisa Davila plays Pink Ladies founder and leader Jane, alongside Cheyenne Isabel Wells as Olivia, Ari Notartomaso as Cynthia, and Tricia Fukuhara as Nancy. 

The guys, some of whom are sure to be T-Birds, include Johnathan Nieves as Richie, Jason Schmidt as Buddy, and Maxwell Whittington-Cooper as Wally. 

What's the plot of Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies?

Naturally, "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" takes place at Rydell High, the same school Sandy and Danny attended. The series will also stay true to its roots and will bring us catchy songs and "big musical numbers from the period combined with new original songs as well," as reported by Variety. However, the most iconic songs from the original musical will likely not be included, due to the estate of the composer withholding those rights to the music.

The press release promises that as with the original film, "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" will showcase "the peer pressures of high school, the horrors of puberty, and the rollercoaster of life in middle America with a modern sensibility." More specifically, the official plot synopsis notes it's set, "In 1954, four years before the original Grease, before rock 'n' roll ruled and before the T-Birds were the coolest in the school."

Further, "It follows four fed-up outcasts who dare to have fun on their own terms, sparking a moral panic that will change Rydell High forever" (via Collider). Tantalizingly, this means certain iconic characters could pop up in their younger incarnations. 

When does Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies take place?

"Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" takes place just a few years before the events of the iconic movie. WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt provided some details about the show at the Mipcom conference saying, "We're going to build out the world of this show which everybody loves, in that musical style, and build basically a High School Musical kind of experience that will be a big fun rock and roll musical," (via Variety). However, the story has been updated to include characters of color and to tackle LGBTQ+ issues too.

Actor Marisa Davila revealed, "The characters run into a lot of the same situations that people in the present day might be dealing with," per EW. Despite the setting, series creator Annabel Oakes confirmed "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" is more concerned with modern issues. She explained, "Any time you do a period piece, you are using a little bit of a modern lens and you're talking about what's different and also what hasn't changed. It's really interesting to go down both of those paths at once." 

Oakes, who previously helmed the hit show "Minx," did a huge amount of research into the '50s and particularly how women were treated at the time, noting, "We talked to a lot of women who grew up in the 1950s and were actually there. Women of the '50s were the women who were out there in the '60s breaking glass ceilings and boundaries." 

The trailer for Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies

The trailer for "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" is a whirlwind, deftly introducing us to the colorful cast of characters populating the prequel series. In keeping with more modern sensibilities, the foursome finds each other because they're all having trouble fitting in, whether it's because of race, sexual orientation, or just plain sexism. Marisa Davila, Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ari Notartomaso, and Tricia Fukuhara don the iconic pink jackets as a way to fight back against societal norms.

As the trailer confirms, the Pink Lady pledge is to look, act, and be cool at all times. Their antagonists, naturally, are mostly men (and some judgmental cheerleaders). Aside from one young woman being laughed out of the auto shop when she suggests joining the T-Birds, there's offensive commentary from the jocks as another member strolls by at lunch, and a cruel rumor that finds a third Pink Lady making it clear that her paramour may think it's no big deal but for her, it is.

Naturally, we also get glimpses of some huge musical numbers, which make Rydell High a set-piece in itself — much like in the original movies. On this evidence, there's plenty to be excited about when the show debuts. 

The crew behind Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies

According to IMDb, there are three directors at the helm of "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies." Alethea Jones is known for her work on another Paramount+ series, the Mike Colter-starring "Evil," alongside tackling an episode of Kyle Richards's ill-fated "American Woman" series. Fans of "RuPaul's Drag Race" will recognize super choreographer Jamal Sims's name but it may surprise them to learn he has a number of directorial credits on his slate too, including "When the Beat Drops."

Diego Velasco, meanwhile, has worked on "Orange is the New Black," so he's got plenty of experience dealing with complicated women. In keeping with the new, modern approach, the show's mostly female writing staff has experience in everything from "Atypical" to "One Day at a Time" and even "Colin in Black & White," while the music is courtesy of Zachary Dawes, Nick Sena, and Justin Tranter, all of whom have significant industry experience scoring a plethora of great stuff. 

Consider that Dawes and Sena have credits on projects as varied as "Ingrid Goes West" and "There's Someone Inside Your House" while fellow composer Justin Tranter has worked with the likes of Zara Larsson, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez. Series creator Annabel Oakes told EW emphatically: "Fans of the original should be happy. We call 'Grease' the mothership and we always are talking about how we have to pay homage and respect the mothership." 

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies will feature new original songs

One of the most exciting things about a new "Grease" property is the promise of new songs. And, in keeping with its predecessors, "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" promises to be stuffed with singalong soon-to-be hits. As EW points out, songwriter Justin Tranter is responsible for Justin Bieber's chart-topping "Sorry," among many other hits, so clearly we're in good hands here. As series creator Annabel Oakes enthused, "They were really excited to do a project where they got to create a body of work and where the pop stars are the characters." 

Tranter penned a whopping 31 original songs for "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" and, according to the cast, they never got sick of hearing a single one despite months of shooting. In fact, Marisa Davila admitted: "I still listen to the music every day." She confidently described it as "a no-skip soundtrack," noting, "Justin and their team managed to mold together the old '50s style of music with a modern day take on it." Oakes was adamant about paying proper homage to the music of the time, including key cuts that are melded into the overall score. 

As she explained, 1954 is an important moment in musical history. Thus, "We want to pay tribute to the real people who started rock & roll — Black musicians, Latinx musicians, who were at the forefront. We want those in the show." 

Where to watch the Grease movies

If you're looking to revisit "Grease" and its cult classic sequel "Grease 2" — which many fans actually believe is the superior film — before the prequel series drops, you're in luck because both movies are currently streaming on Paramount+, which is also the home of "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies." Elsewhere, you can catch "Grease" on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, and tons of other places, per Just Watch. 

The sequel, meanwhile, is available to watch on PlutoTV, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and plenty of other streamers to boot (via Just Watch). Although super-fans may be skeptical about the new series potentially ruining what's come before, it's worth noting that "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" creator Annabel Oakes shared those concerns, acknowledging to EW that, originally, "I thought, 'Nobody needs a new 'Grease.' The original 'Grease' is absolutely perfect."

She approached it as a way to fill in the blanks from the original movie, and in particular the story of the coolest girl gang at Rydell High. Through research, Oakes discovered that the Pink Ladies were based on a real group at "Grease" creator Jim Jacobs's high school, which made her eager to learn more. With any luck, "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" will give them the origin story we've all been waiting for since first watching the original movies — the one they deserve.