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PARAMOUNT+ GREASE: RISE OF THE PINK LADIES Q&A with Cast & Series Overview & Photos

Maj Canton - April 5, 2023




Grease Is the Word… On Thursday, April 6, 2023 Paramount+ premieres the highly anticipated, ten-episode musical series, GREASE: RISE OF THE PINK LADIES. The musical series takes place four years before the original GREASE. In 1954 -- before rock ‘n’ roll ruled and before the T-Birds were the coolest in the school -- four fed-up outcasts dare to have fun on their own terms, sparking a moral panic that will change Rydell High forever. These ladies are too cool for school! With 30 new songs and high-energy dance numbers, PINK LADIES is an entertaining romp while also tackling social issues that still resonate today. 

Starring: Marisa Davila as Jane, Cheyenne Isabel Wells as Olivia, Ari Notartomaso as Cynthia, Tricia Fukuhara as Nancy, Shanel Bailey as Hazel, Madison Thompson as Susan, Johnathan Nieves as Richie, Jason Schmidt as Buddy, Maxwell Whittington-Cooper as Wally and Jackie Hoffman as Asst. Principal McGee.


The premiere episodes are:

  • "We’re Going to Rule the School": Four outcasts including a braniac good student, a scandal-ridden cynic, a tomboy, and a fashion maven, navigate the first day of junior year at Rydell High.
  • "Too Pure to be Pink": A moral panic drives Jane and her friends to create their own narrative and name. The Pink Ladies girl gang is officially formed.

Additional episodes will be available to stream weekly on Thursdays for subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, and on Fridays for subscribers in the U.K., Australia, Latin America, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France.


Recently TV Tango participated in press event with the stars of GREASE: RISE OF THE PINK LADIES. Here are a few highlights (edited for clarity and readability) from that event..

Marisa Davila, Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ari Notartomaso and Tricia Fukuhara
speak on stage during TCA Paramount+ GREASE: RISE OF THE PINK LADIES
Panel at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 09, 2023 in Pasadena, CA

Q&A Interview with the Cast of GREASE: RISE OF THE PINK LADIES:
Marisa Davila, Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ari Notartomaso, and Tricia Fukuhara


Tricia Fukuhara as Nancy Nakagawa, Marisa Davila as Jane Facciano, Cheyenne Wells as Olivia Valdovinos and Ari Notartomaso as Cynthia Zdunowski

Question: How much time did you spend in rehearsals for voice and dance? And are you tired?

Marisa Davila: Very tired, but we'd do it all over again tomorrow. We were in rehearsals from the beginning to the very end. It was a lot of layers happening of shooting a scene, rehearsing a scene, going into dance rehearsals, going to the studio and recording a song, all at the same time, for all different episodes in all different orders. So not only did we have to memorize lines, but dance moves and lyrics. And also remembering where our character was in the story depending on what day it was that we were shooting. Sometimes we'd start the day with Scene 9 of Episode 2 and then end the day with Scene 6 from Episode 3. And we'd have to go, "Okay, what does my character know right now?" I am so blessed to be a part of this project. And if I weren't, I would be obsessed with it.

Tricia Fukuhara: We would take advantage of any moment that we would have, because we were just going, going, going, not a lot of time to shoot everything. And sometimes you would get a song as you're on set about to shoot a monologue or something, and you'll find a moment where you can listen to it. And sometimes things change on the fly too. So even if you have had a lot of time to rehearse something, something might be completely different based on new music or some way that they want to tell the story differently, and you'll be learning choreography on the fly. And you'll just kind of have to do it, and everybody comes together and makes it happen.

Ari Notartomaso: I grew up doing musical theater. I went to school for musical theater at Penn State. And, so, I'm used to the practice of learning a dance number, learning music over a period of five or six weeks before you have to put it up, before you see it in front of people. And because we were doing it in such a cyclical way, where we'd learn something, and then we'd film it, and then, while we were filming, we would be learning it for the next time. It was a lot of moving parts. And it just took a really huge amount of collaboration and community to get all those things done in the way that we did. I feel like you'd never know that it was as difficult as it was.


Marisa Davila as Jane Facciano, Cheyenne Wells as Olivia Valdovinos, Ari Notartomaso as Cynthia Zdunowski, and Tricia Fukuhara as Nancy Nakagawa.

Question: Did any of you consult your grandmothers or great aunties to learn a little bit about how women had certain roles back then?

Cheyenne Isabel Wells: I talked to my grandma when I got the role and asked her some questions. It was very different being a Latina woman during the '50s in LA, it was difficult. I mean, speaking Spanish wasn't a good thing. I do love that we get to tell the story of being a Latina woman during that time and being half Latina and just getting to do that.

Ari Notartomaso: Sadly, my grandparents have all passed by the time that I got this job, so I didn't get the chance to speak to any family members about it, but I did get the chance to speak to a woman who was alive in the 1950s, who was gay in the 1950s. And, so, it was a really wonderful experience to me. I'm also gay. I was able to ask questions about what it meant to be a young woman, a young person of a marginalized experience in the 1950s, and what it meant to exist in the world without the context or knowledge of words to describe yourself or knowing that there's other people like you around you.

Tricia Fukuhara: My grandparents are also dead. So, I couldn't talk to them about it, but, luckily, we talked about it when I was growing up, because they were like, "Hey, as a young Japanese American, you need to know what went down, because they might not teach you about it in school. So, they wanted to make sure that we understood, as the new generation, what previous generations had been through. And, so, in doing so, I've spoken to all kinds of family members about what that was like, because Nancy is living in that time, and to try to speak to people who were around her age as well. I've interviewed people. I would go to these Zoom panels on weekends when we were shooting with different events through the Japanese American Canadian cultural center, just to hear people's stories and to see what it was like.