Broadway favorite Jackie Hoffman (The Addams Family, Xanadu) will star as Rydell Assistant Principal McGee, the character played by Eve Arden in the 1978 film based on the Broadway musical, in Paramount+'s upcoming prequel series Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies. The character's designation as assistant principal indicates we may get to find out how she became principal by the time the Grease characters make it to their senior year.
Joining Hoffman in the cast will be 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, and Maxwell Whittington-Cooper as Wally, none of which appear to be characters from either the stage or film adaptations of Grease.
Taking place four years before the events of Grease in 1954, Rise of the Pink Ladies centers on four outcasts who spark a moral panic that threatens to change Rydell High forever. Hoffman is the only announced cast member to be inhabiting a character from the 1978 film; it remains unseen if we will hear from the Pink Ladies and
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The series will also feature choreography by Jamal Sims (RuPaul's Drag Race, Netflix's upcoming 13 The Musical) and original songs written and executive produced by Grammy nominee Justin Tranter, who also serves as executive music producer.
The 10-episode series, green lit last summer and now starting principal photography in Vancouver, is written and executive produced by creator and showrunner Annabel Oakes (Atypical, Transparent). Additional executive producers include Marty Bowen for Temple Hill, Adam Fishbach, and Erik Feig and Samie Kim Falvey for Picturestart, with Grace Gilroy producing. The pilot will be directed by Althea Jones (Dispatches From Elsewhere), who will return to direct two additional episodes and executive produce.
Rise of the Pink Ladies is one of two Grease prequel projects currently in development, joining a film centered on Sandy and Danny's summer romance. Summer Lovin' and Rise of the Pink Ladies are both produced by Picturestart, Temple Hill, and Paramount.
These prequel properties would make Grease the most expansive cinematic universe derived from a stage musical, with a film sequel already having been released in 1982 starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield. Only The Odd Couple would rival its spin-offs; the 1965 Neil Simon play went on to be adapted into two films, three television series, and an animated series.