“On ‘Zoey’s,’ dance is a huge part of the storytelling,” proclaims acclaimed choreographer Mandy Moore about bringing NBC’s hit musical comedy “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” to life. “It’s the ultimate ‘I did my job.’ It feels great that you can create something and be a part of the team that creates something that affects people, that affects humans. That they watch it and they feel something.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Moore above.
In “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” Jane Levy plays Zoey Clarke, who after a freak accident can see and hear strangers, friends and family unknowingly sing and dance about their intimate feelings through pop music. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a show that wears its heart on its sleeve, especially when the characters break out into the emotional song and dance numbers that highlight each episode. Moore serves as choreographer and executive producer on the show and is responsible for all of the show’s musical numbers, which range from elaborately choreographed spectacles to intimate, emotional sequences that drive the narrative.
Moore was immediately attracted to the project because of how vital the dancing would be to the show’s storytelling and because of its emotional sincerity and honesty in how it explores universal themes like empathy, love and loss. “I love the idea of getting to know someone’s inner thoughts and of course having them told through song and dance, is like the way I see the world anyway,” she laughs. “It was kind of a perfect fit!”
“There’s nothing better than honest storytelling along with great songs that people know and love and then adding the visual element of that song being brought to life through dance and beautiful acting and movement,” she says.
The two-time Emmy winner (for “Dancing with the Stars” in 2017 and “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2018), who also sits as one of two choreographers on the TV academy’s board of governors, had her work cut out for her his season. Not only did she create all of the extravagant song and dance numbers, but was also responsible for the most talked-about moment from the show’s devastating season finale. In it, co-star Peter Gallagher who plays Jane’s father Mitch and who suffers from a rare condition that paralyzes him, sadly passes away.
The scene beautifully captures Jane sharing a final dance with her father in his final breaths. “I had to work with Peter and Jane and the director to really understand what emotion we were trying to convey. Does this say what we’re trying to say? Her father is trying to shield her from those final moments, those really brutal final moments and that she’s just seeing him and her in his arms in those last moments and that’s what she’ll remember,” she reveals, adding that “a lot of that was based on the feeling of what I would want to do with my dad in his last moments and what would I want to feel?”
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