Making ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ involves ‘bigger moments, bigger memories,’ says Austin Winsberg

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Jane Levy (center) as Zoey in the season two premiere of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” Photo by Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate

In the NBC series “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” the title character, played by Jane Levy, unexpectedly develops a musical superpower when an earthquake strikes while she’s getting an MRI. 

Suddenly, she’s able to perceive people’s innermost thoughts in the form of song and dance. 

That means a simple stroll down the street can turn into a full blown performance from passersby that only she can see and hear. 

Zoey’s new powers can leave her embarrassed or bewildered, but they also give her a way to communicate with her father, played by Peter Gallagher, who’s suffering from a neurological disease that has left him paralyzed and unable to speak. 

Austin Winsberg created “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” and the show is partially based on his experiences with his own father. He collaborates with award-winning choreographer and producer Mandy Moore, who’s worked on shows including “So You Think You Can Dance?” and “Dancing with the Stars,”  and the movie “La La Land.” 

Winsberg and Moore are in the middle of production on season two of the series, filming in Vancouver. The show airs on NBC and streams on Peacock. In late January, they filmed the show’s 100th song and dance performance. 

Winsberg tells us why they took time to celebrate the milestone, and how it all connects to the show’s ethos of “bigger moments, bigger memories.”

Moore and Winsberg also discuss massive dance rehearsals in masks, why they didn’t want COVID to be part of the season two storyline, and how they decide which songs to use to capture the tricky tone of the show. 

Plus, they explain why filming “Hello, Dolly,” the first big musical number of season two, made them tear up. Executing a big song and dance routine under COVID guidelines wasn’t easy, but they were able to pull it off. 

Moore says, “It was very beautiful to see. When that kickline happened, my heart burst.” 

Credits

Guests:
Austin Winsberg - Creator of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” - @austinwinsberg, Mandy Moore - Producer and choreographer - @nopenother

Host:
Kim Masters

Producer:
Kaitlin Parker