New York Daily News

Gals still got it

‘Girls5Eva’ is back from ’90s on a mission

- BY KATE FELDMAN

Nothing about the ’90s was subtle. “Girls5Eva” wanted to go even bigger.

The Peacock comedy, premiering Thursday, stars Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps and Paula Pell as the remaining members of a five-person girl group, 30 years after they rose to fame and then lost it all.

With a hit single sampled in a chart-rising rap song by Lil Stinker, they suddenly get a second chance to do it right.

“There’s no serving, in the story, of anyone but ourselves,” Goldsberry, best known for her role as Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton,” told the Daily News.

“They didn’t get that the first time around. Maybe they’re not as young, maybe they’re not as obvious a choice for a pop sensation, but they at least feel entitled to start asking different questions.”

The failed dreams look different for each woman.

Wickie (Goldsberry) is still clinging to the life she once had and thinks she still deserves. Dawn (Bareilles) has moved on, settling down into a quiet life with her husband, son and Tupperware parties. Gloria (Pell) is a veterinari­an. And Summer (Philipps) followed the trajectory laid out for her as a teen, right down to daughter Stevia and husband Kev (Andrew Rannells), a former ’90s boy band star who kept his signature hair swoop and rarely comes home.

“I was in entertainm­ent when I was a teenager, when I was 19. I have a lot of basis for people that I know who have worked when they were kids and where they are now and the kinds of things they’re doing,” Philipps, who starred in “Freaks and Geeks” at 19 and “Dawson’s Creek” at 21, told The News.

“I think it’s an interestin­g idea of a person who gets sort of trapped in an idea of what they should be and how they should be, and the point at which they don’t even know what’s real and what’s not.”

Much of “Girls5Eva,” which comes from Meredith Scardino, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, focuses on the former pop stars reclaiming their narrative from a sleazy ex-manager, tabloids and advertiser­s. To steal a ’90s phrase, it’s about girl power.

“These are women who can see the misogyny of the industry that they weren’t privy to back in the day, the songs they were singing, the messages they were putting out,” Bareilles told The News.

“They’re realizing, in hindsight, how disempower­ed they are.”

It’s not quite a midlife crisis, Bareilles explained, but rather an opportunit­y that fell into their laps.

They didn’t ask for Lil Stinker to use their song, but he did when they needed it most.

“It’s a metaphor for the big risk, the leap of faith. About being scared to try something that you’ve never imagined you could,” the Tony nominee told The News. “You just don’t have to manifest it by putting on sequins and thigh-high boots like I did.”

The present for “Girls5Eva” is a joyous mess of middle-aged women revisiting their youth; the ’90s flashbacks is where it shines.

“I don’t need low-rise jeans. Ever. Ever. Ever. Never,” Philipps joked. “But other than that, I’ll take most of it. I’m a real ’90s b—-h.”

The ’90s are staging a comeback in the real world — bike shorts and fanny packs are popping up on TikTok — but for the cast, wearing costume designer Tina Nigro’s creations felt like slipping into another era.

“Have you ever heard the term ‘stuck in a decade?’ Guess what I found out when they were trying to do retro makeup and I was like, ‘I’ve got that lipstick in my bag right now,’ ” Goldsberry told The News.

The pop stars of Girls5Eva aren’t always easy to love but it’s the easiest thing in the world to want them to succeed.

“It’s not about the result,” Goldsberry told The News. “It’s about the audacity to try.”

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 ??  ?? In “Girls5Eva” (from l.) Paula Pell, Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Busy Philipps grab second chance decades after flaming out. Bottom, (from l.) Bareilles, Philipps, Ashley Park, Erika Henningsen and Goldsberry as ’90s selves.
In “Girls5Eva” (from l.) Paula Pell, Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Busy Philipps grab second chance decades after flaming out. Bottom, (from l.) Bareilles, Philipps, Ashley Park, Erika Henningsen and Goldsberry as ’90s selves.

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