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Writing by Gia Miller

(In the photo above: Madison Lagares (right) and Emma Shannon (left) star as young Frenchy and Rizzo, respectively, in “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” on Paramount Plus.)

In our September/October 2022 issue, we featured teen actress Madison Lagares. At that time, she had already filmed the first season of “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” on Paramount Plus, playing a young Frenchy. We kept her secret, but now we’re ready to tell you all about Lagares’ latest gig.

As an actress, taking on an iconic role is stressful – there’s a lot to live up to. But when 15-year-old Pound Ridge resident Madison Lagares learned about auditions for the role of a young Frenchy on “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies,” she knew she had to try.

Her agent, Natasha Marken at Take 3 Talent, and manager, Sherry Kayne at Moxy Artists, knew she had a shot. They were right. After only four auditions, Lagares landed the part.

“When she first auditioned, she was told not to do the Frenchy voice, so she didn’t,” says her mom, Maria Tenaud. “But right before the second audition, she looked at me and said, ‘I’m gonna do it.’ I asked her if she was serious. I was worried that if she didn’t follow the rules, they’d say forget it. But she wanted to, even though it was a really big risk. It paid off because as soon as they heard it, they fell in love with her.”

“Over 1,500 girls auditioned worldwide,” Tenaud continues. “Later, the director told me that she nailed it in the first round. I think they had her read for the role with other people so they could piece her on-screen family together. They did a lot of casting around her.”

If you haven’t seen the show or read the reviews, here’s a spoiler alert: Lagares nails it—the voice, the mannerisms, everything. She completely embodies Frenchy.

Lagares learned she got the part in November 2021, and she began filming in January 2022. But she and fellow castmate Emma Shannon, who plays a young Betty Rizzo, were forced to keep their roles a secret until the show aired on April 6, 2023. The show is a prequel to the movie “Grease,” telling the tale of how the Pink Ladies came to be. (“It’s like ‘Wicked’ to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” says Lagares.) It wasn’t until the first episode was released that everyone learned two of the original Pink Ladies would appear in the show.

“Filming the first season was extremely exciting,” says Lagares. “I’ve always loved ‘Grease,’ and to step back in time and film in an exact replica of Frenchy’s house was amazing. The set designers were incredible, and everything was meticulously done. It was like doing a period piece. Everything from the costumes to the hair – it was all perfect.”

As of our deadline, they haven’t received the official green light for season two, but Tenaud says it’s very likely. The show has taken off in the U.S., South America and Europe. And Lagares is all in for another season.

“For me, ‘Grease’ is the best of both worlds,” she says. “I love Broadway musicals, and I love TV and film. Incorporating everything into one is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s pretty surreal.”

This article was published in the May/June 2023 print edition of Katonah Connect.

Editor-in-Chief at Connect to Northern Westchester | Website | + posts

Gia Miller is an award-winning journalist and the editor-in-chief/co-publisher of Connect to Northern Westchester. She has a magazine journalism degree (yes, that's a real thing) from the University of Georgia and has written for countless national publications, ranging from SELF to The Washington Post. Gia desperately wishes schools still taught grammar. Also, she wants everyone to know they can delete the word "that" from about 90% of their sentences, and there's no such thing as "first annual." When she's not running her media empire, Gia enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, laughing at her crazy dog and listening to a good podcast. She thanks multiple alarms, fermented grapes and her amazing husband for helping her get through each day. Her love languages are food and humor.