“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is a hot new NBC musical dramedy starring Jane Levy. Expect a different sort of character than Levy has played in movies like Evil Dead (2013) and Don’t Breathe (2016). Though known for her roles in edgy horror films, Levy’s Zoe is a character as extraordinary as the show’s titular playlist.
The fact that this show is set for an early release is not a surprise. After the success of “Smash and Rise,” the network decided to stick with a good thing and give another hour-long musical show a go. NBC picked up the show in the May 2019 sweeps, and it plans to introduce it mid-season, during the 2019-2020 television season. Though the target audience of this show is older teens and young adults, the compelling music and interesting plot means this program will appeal to a wide variety of television watchers.
What to Expect From “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
Jane Levy plays the lead character of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” Zoey Clarke, but her tale has a magical realism twist. She is a computer coder in her late 20s, living in San Francisco. A strange occurrence, however, transforms her humdrum life and causes Zoey to start experiencing the deeply guarded desires and dreams of those around her – but through song.
The characters express their secret desires to her in elaborate musical numbers that they perform just for her. Fearful that she may be losing her mind, Zoey is initially hesitant to embrace her gift. However, after careful contemplation, she realizes that, much like an empath or a medium, she can use this newfound power to help others in her path and to understand the people in her life.
The People Behind the Scene
The production team includes creator Austin Winsberg, who works with such companies as the Tannenbaum Company, Lionsgate, Universal Musical Group, and even Paul Feig’s FeigCo Entertainment. Winsberg made a name for himself as the creator of “Jake in Progress.” Known primarily in musical theatre circles, Austin Winsberg was the book writer of the Broadway musical First Date, and you’ll recognize his work as writer of the TV adaptation of NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! which starred Carrie Underwood.
Richard Shepard, who won a Director’s Guild of America Award and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for the pilot episode of “Ugly Betty,” directed the pilot.
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” will be the first musical drama broadcast series for Lionsgate since Nashville, which aired from 2012 through 2018 to critically and popular aplomb.
Winsberg brings with him an established team. This show will be a must see for the upcoming 2019/2020 television season with dynamic writing duo Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts as both writers and executive producers on the show. These two have been writing as a team since the late 90’s. They met while both working on a student film at their alma mater, Northwestern University. Gretchen Berg was the director and Aaron Harberts was her PA. They had a great working relationship but it was not until they both reunited in Los Angeles that the writing team of Berg and Harberts was born.
Since Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts joined forces, they have worked on some of the most popular shows that have captured audiences across the world. Their big break into the industry was their first gig writing for the super popular teen drama “Beverly Hills 90210”. Over the years they have worked on popular shows like “Roswell”, “Wonderfalls”, “Pushing Daisies”, “Revenge” and many more. Their combined talent is the perfect mix to bring the characters, storylines and dialogue to life in the much anticipated “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”.
The Cast of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
Though the writers and directors are driving the narrative, the importance of a strong ensemble cast is crucial to the success of such a venture. Other cast members for the show include many familiar names, like Mary Steenburgen, Peter Gallagher, Lauren Graham, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, and Skylar Astin. Gallagher plays Zoey’s father, Mitch. Stewart plays Simon, a coworker and marketing executive at Zoey’s company. Mary Steenburgen will play Zoey’s mother, Maggie, intent on keeping her family together. Astin will play the character of Max, and Newell the character of Mo. Graham fills the role of Zoey’s boss, a pioneer in the tech world of the Silicon Valley.
Don’t Miss “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
Several entities with first-look deals at Lionsgate TV have partnered on this project. They include FeigCo, the Tannenbaum Company, and Universal Music Group. Winsberg is an executive producer on the show, along with Paul Feig, Kim and Eric Tannenbaum, David Blackman, and Daniel Inkeles, both of Polygram.
If you are a fan of campy, light drama and huge musical numbers, this show is sure to please. It has the heart of a drama with the whimsy of a musical – and that’s a winning combination, just look at the success of “Glee” to see just how broad the audience is for such a show. The internet buzz around this upcoming series, coupled with a talented cast with credentials a mile long, will certainly result in a show that is worthy of an hour out of your week.
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