Pretty Little Liars’ Janel Parrish talks Grease, being a theatre kid and finding her “inner pink lady”

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 Mis√©rables 250 times.

See Janel Parrish in action on Pretty Little Liars below:

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