How Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Translates Musical Theatre to Television

Over time there has been no shortage of musical television shows: Smash, Galavant, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and of course we can’t forget Glee. Musical comedies always seem to pop up and theatre lovers find them, but have you seen the newest hit musical television show, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist? NBC has cited it as the network’s top digital launch of all time and with the season 1 finale airing two weeks ago today, the series has an 8.1/10 audience rating on IMDb. The show follows Zoey Clarke, who after an extraordinary MRI scan, finds that she is able to hear the deepest thoughts and feelings of those around her in the form of song and dance. Created by Austin Winsberg and starring Jane Levy as Zoey, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is undoubtedly one my new favorite shows on television.

When I was in high school I really enjoyed watching Glee and looked forward to what their theme would be for the week and what crazy situation would happen to my non-classmate classmates next. I wasn’t in my high school’s show choir, but I was (and obviously still am) very involved with theatre. I felt like their stories resonated with me, but I love Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist so much more for so many reasons. For one, I am now a 24 year old college graduate with a young child. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist has such an amazing focus on family and the importance of being there for each other and supporting each other no matter what comes next, because we really never know what life will throw at us *she typed while sitting in her house social distancing for the 1,795th day in a row*.

I also love the music choices. So. Much. While there are one or two musical theatre songs, the show is primarily made up of popular songs from almost every era. My favorite part about the music in this show is that even with the dance numbers associated, it is not “musical theatre,” by which I mean it doesn’t sound like a show choir taking a pop song and singing it in a classical way. They take the pop song they are given and make it their own while holding onto the integrity of the original version. I could, and would love to, hear every single one of the songs (in the version from the show) on the radio. The cast is flawless at each of their numbers and, who knew that Lauren Graham could sing like that? I sure didn’t, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about then drop what you are doing and watch this show immediately.

I can’t recommend this show enough. It is available to stream on Hulu and with the season being finished and many of us still social distancing, now is the perfect time to binge the best new musical-comedy show on television, but don’t take my word for it. What are you waiting for? Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is waiting for you!

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