Pretty Little Liars has now wrapped up for good, but lucky Toronto residents will soon be able to see star Janel Parrish on stage as Sandy in a new production of Grease, which begins previews at Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre on November 1st.
The actress talked to Broadway World about her experiences with the theatre at a young age and how she wants to approach this new challenge.
Parrish starred in Cruel Intentions: The Musical and was spotted by the producers of Grease. Though initially considered for the role of Rizzo, she ended up being cast in the lead.
“It’s a role that I’ve always wanted to play and just never thought I would ever be offered,” she said. “It always works out the way it should. I would have been stoked to play Rizzo – but I’m even more stoked that I have the opportunity to play Sandy, because, like I said, it was a role that I never ever thought I would be considered for.”
Parrish describes this new version of the classic musical as “relevant”, and wants to update her character along with the spirit of the show.
She continued: “I want her to be somebody that people can relate to. I want to kind of ground her a little bit more and give her layers and give her – her innocence and vulnerability, but a little bit of a struggle to discover who she really is.
“I don’t want it to be like – she just changes for her man at the end – I want to give her some human layers. Where people can understand that she’s just trying to figure out who she is too. She changes at the end, but a lot of that is about her finding her inner pink lady.”
Despite finding fame on television, Parrish has always been a fan of theatre and had her start in the 1996 production of Les Miserables at a young age.
“[Phantom of the Opera] was the first musical I had ever saw on stage and I was just transfixed,” she said. “Apparently I just turned to my parents and said, ‘I want to do that’. So they let me audition for Les Miserables, and that was it. I was bit by the Broadway bug.
“It’s crazy to think of now, as an adult, but to me, when I was six – that was normal. That was life. It was amazing, and I wish I could remember more. When I look back at pictures, it almost seems like it didn’t happen, because I was so young. But it was thrilling for my parents. My mom went on tour with me and my dad would come whenever he could. Collectively, I think they’ve seen Les Misérables 250 times.
See Janel Parrish in action on Pretty Little Liars below: