“Hollywood Reporter” Goes Behind the Scenes with “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
The Hollywood Reporter recently went behind the scenes with the cast and crew of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist to talk about how the series, which concluded its first season earlier this summer, uses music to express emotion and foster a sense of connectivity.
Branded as a “dramedy,” the new NBC show centers on a young woman who gains the ability to hear the innermost thoughts of people around her as songs and musical numbers. This newfound ability allows Zoey, who is played by Jane Levy, to connect with her father, who is living with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and unable to speak. The show’s creator, Austin Winsberg, drew inspiration for the story from his late father’s journey with the disease.
“For me, that form of expression is new,” Levy, who has no formal musical training, says in the article. “At the beginning, I was scared about not sounding good. And then eventually, I realized what’s most important to me as an artist is to just tell the story authentically.”
The article offers an inside look into the role music plays in each episode, from securing the rights to specific songs, re-creating tracks with certain characters in mind, and the corresponding dance choreography. With more than 80 song-and-dance performances in its first season, the show relies heavily on music to shape the storyline and at times, act as a stand in for character dialogue. Winsberg also shares his decision to use his late father’s favorite song, Don McLean’s “American Pie,” in the final episode when Zoey says goodbye to her father.