For more than 50 years, the musical Grease has been a worldwide phenomenon. Whether it was the original 1971 stage production, the 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and the late Olivia Newton-John, its sequel, or the various TV productions over the years, fans have long been entranced by the story of summer romance and the complications that follow. But, the new Paramount+ original series, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies tells a different story set within the confines of Rydell High.
The new musical series, which premiered Thursday, April 6th, features a new group of characters who roamed the halls of the iconic high school years before Danny Zuko sang “Greased Lightin’.” That being said, there’s a good chance you’re wondering where you’ve seen the Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies cast before. Well, look no further…
Marisa Davila (Jane Facciano)
Marisa Davila takes on the role of Jane Facciano, one of the four Rydell High students who start the titular clique on Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.
Since getting her start in show business around a decade ago, Davila has taken on small roles on shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Atypical, Cloak & Dagger, and Speechless. More recently, she has landed more prominent spots on shows such as My Big Fat Blonde Musical and Super Giant Robot Brothers.
Cheyenne Isabel Wells (Olivia Valdovinos)
Cheyenne Isabel Wells steps in as Olivia Valdovinos, the sister of the T-Birds' leader and member of the Pink Ladies who is trying to rebound from the bad reputation she has after being in a relationship with a teacher.
Prior to joining the cast, which is her first TV gig, Wells came up performing in regional theaters throughout Southern and Northern California, as well as at Disneyland, according to Broadway by the Bay.
Ari Notartomaso (Cynthia Zdunowski)
Ari Notartomaso shows up on the new series as Cynthia Zdunowski, who dreams of becoming a member of the T-Birds before starting to get close with the fearless girl gang after the male clique refuses her entry.
This is only Notartomaso’s second on-screen role since their career started a few years ago, with the previous performance being in the 2021 horror movie Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin.
Tricia Fukuhara (Nancy Nakagawa)
Tricia Fukuhara shows up in the Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies as Nancy Nakagawa, an aspiring fashion designer who takes a stand with the other members of the fearless foursome to bring radical change to Rydell High.
Throughout her career, which goes back to 2015, Fukuhara has appeared in a number of short films and various TV shows, like Only Children, The Super Pops, Tango of Imaginary Friends, and Loot, to name only a few. And, like her co-star, Marisa Davila, Fukuhara has performed at some of the biggest theme parks in the United States like Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland.
Shanel Bailey (Hazel)
Shanel Bailey joins the Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies cast as Hazel, a newcomer to Rydell High who also sets out to disrupt the status quo of the 1950s high school.
Though her career only goes back a few years, Bailey has already made several small-screen appearances on series like The Good Fight in the legal drama’s penultimate season, a 2021 episode of the CBS action thriller The Equalizer, and the 2022 comedy series, That Damn Michael Che, starring the longtime Weekend Update co-anchor and prankster.
Madison Thompson (Susan)
For every rebellious Pink Lady there has to be a straight-laced yet vindictive popular girl, and that responsibility falls on Madison Thompson’s character, Susan, who does Jane no favors by greasing up the gears of the rumor mill on the new Grease prequel.
Prior to joining the cast, Thompson made a name for herself on the popular Netflix original series, Ozark, where she played Erin Pierce (Helen Pierce’s daughter) during the show’s final two seasons. Outside of that, Thompson has made smaller appearances on shows like Major Crimes, NCIS: New Orleans, American Housewife, and Creepshow, which happens to be one of the best shows on Shudder.
Johnathan Nieves (Richie Valdovinos)
In the 1978 film adaptation of Grease, the T-Birds were led by John Travolta’s Danny Zuko, but that isn’t quite the case for the new prequel series. Instead, Johnathan Nieves’ Richie Valdovinos is the one front and center in Rydell’s rebellious yet fun-loving high school greaser gang.
Prior to joining the Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies cast, Nieves made a name for himself in various stage productions before landing TV roles on shows like Chicago Fire, Shameless, New Amsterdam, Better Call Saul, and even Grey’s Anatomy, a show that has featured its fair share of eventually well-known actors over the years. In 2020, the multi-talented actor landed his first main role with his portrayal of Mateo Vega in the Showtime original series, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.
Jason Schmidt (Buddy)
Jason Schmidt shows up on the series as Buddy, Jane’s one-time boyfriend whose romance with her was cut short after certain jealous members of the Rydell High student population started a nasty rumor about the future Pink Lady.
Fans of the CBS action thriller, FBI: Most Wanted, may recognize Schmidt from his one-off appearance on the show during its second season back in 2021.
Maxwell Whittington-Cooper (Wally)
Maxwell Whittington-Cooper shows up on Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies as Wally, a student at Rydell High.
Prior to joining the cast, Whittington-Cooper appeared on shows like Blue Bloods, Mrs. Fletcher, When They See Us, FBI: Most Wanted, and The Equalizer, to name just a few.
Jackie Hoffman (Asst. Principal McGee)
And then there is Jackie Hoffman, who takes on the role of Assistant Principal McGee in Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.
Throughout her career, Hoffman has popped up on shows like The New Normal, Feud: Bette and Joan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and the Hulu original series Only Murders in the Building. Her film credits include Birdman, Garden State, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, and most recently, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.