When it comes to TV comedy pedigree, it's hard to beat the team behind Peacock’s newest series Girls5eva. Created by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt writer Meredith Scardino, and produced by the team of Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, and Jeff Richmond (30 Rock, Kimmy Schmidt, and Great News), the show focuses on the surviving members of an early-2000s pop group called Girls5eva. They were a flash-in-the-pan in their day, but when one of their songs gets sampled by a hit rapper, they're momentarily relevant again — enough so that the women, who are now in their 40s, decide to mount a comeback.
The series is a great blend of comedy and music, and serves up some fantastic roles for the women in its cast. Here’s a look at who’s who in Girls5eva:
After making her streaming television debut last year as executive producer of the Apple TV+ series Little Voice, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles takes the lead role in Girls5eva as Dawn, the "chill one" in the group's glory days. Now, in her 40s, Dawn is married with a kid, and living in Queens, NY. When the women decide to launch a comeback, Dawn is determined to use her long-dormant songwriting skills to make it happen.
Wickie was the designated diva of Girls5eva, the glamorous self-styled Beyoncé who left the group to strike out on her own. But despite an MTV Cribs episode and some press attention, Wickie's career fizzled. By the time the ladies of Girls5eva reunite, Wickie is shooting geese at a private airport. Renée Elise Goldsberry is a Tony Award-winning actress most famous for originating the role of Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton. Goldsberry is also known for her recurring role on The Good Wife, the indie film Waves, and her performance in the Documentary Now! episode "Original Cast Album: Co-Op," in which she starred alongside her Girls5eva co-star Paula Pell.
Paula Pell is a longtime comedy writer who was with Saturday Night Live from 1995-2013, writing some of the most memorable sketches and characters during that run. In recent years, while she’s continued to write — penning the feature screenplay Sisters starring SNL alums Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph — she’s been stepping in front of the camera more and more. She's a regular on the Peacock sitcom A.P. Bio; she gave a standout performance alongside Poehler, Rudolph, Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Ana Gasteyer in the Netflix comedy Wine Country; and she gave a brilliant rendition of Elaine Stritch in Documentary Now!'s "Original Cast Album: Co-Op." On Girls5eva, Pell plays Gloria, originally a Sporty Spice-esque member of the girl group who was trying to keep her homesexuality under wraps; now she’s unhappily divorced and working as a dentist, so she jumps at the chance to get the group back together.
For lack of a more elegant term, Summer is the dumb one in Girls5eva, and she's grown up to be a quasi-influencer with a TikTok daughter, still married to the boy-bander she met when she was famous. Summer's also probably the most hyped about the Girls5eva reunion. In the role is the marvelously talented Busy Philipps, best known for her roles on the sitcom Cougar Town and her short-lived talk show Busy Tonight on E! She first got famous for her roles in the beloved and canceled-too-soon Freaks and Geeks as well as joining the cast of Dawson's Creek in its later seasons before co-starring in the movie White Chicks and even joining the cast of ER for a time.
The "5" in "Girls5eva" means that there was one another member of the group, even though it's only Dawn, Wickie, Gloria, and Summer making the comeback. Ashley was the glue that held the group together, and her absence from the reunion is felt by all the girls. In flashbacks to the group's glory days, Ashley is played by Broadway star Ashley Park, who earned a Tony nomination for her role in the Broadway production of Tina Fey's Mean Girls. Before that, she earned raves for her performance in the off-Broadway musical KPOP. On television, she starred in the Netflix revival of Tales of the City, and she's a main cast member, playing Mindy Chen, on Netflix's Emily in Paris.
Broadway performer Daniel Breaker is probably best known for originating the role of Donkey in Shrek the Musical, for which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. As you can see, he was also in Hamilton, playing Aaron Burr. On Girls5eva he plays Scott, Dawn's loving husband and father of their adorable kid.
Two-time Tony Award nominee Andrew Rannells plays the role of Kev, Summer's often-absent husband and former boy-band member. Rannells first came to fame as the lead role in the Tony-winning musical The Book of Mormon, which he followed up with a regular role on Girls. Most recently he's starred in the films A Simple Favor, The Boys in the Band, and the Ryan Murphy-directed musical adaptation of The Prom. Currently, Rannells is a regular voice role on Big Mouth (where Quinto voices his boyfriend) and stars on Showtime's Black Monday.
Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.
TOPICS: Girls5eva, Andrew Rannells, Ashley Park, Busy Philipps, Paula Pell, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Robert Carlock, Sara Bareilles, Tina Fey