Peter Gallagher Interview: ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’
“Finding a new musical that works is like finding a unicorn!” declares Tony-nominated actor Peter Gallagher about NBC’s hit musical comedy “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” “I knew we’d be swinging for the fences,” he adds. “I had no expectation that we’d knock it out of the park or anything, but I just knew what a great thing we were trying to do right now.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Gallagher 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 punctuate and highlight each episode.
Gallagher plays Mitch, Zoey’s father, who suffers from Progressive Supernuclear Palsy (PSP), a debilitating and rare neurological condition that paralyzes him so that he can barely move and cannot speak. His condition worsens over the course of the season and in the season finale Mitch passes away peacefully as his devastated family watch over him. The moment is portrayed poignantly and emotionally as Zoey and Mitch share a final dance together as his body fails him in his final breaths. It was the perfect example of how this show is unapologetic in its earnestness and honesty in how it explores and underscores themes like empathy, love and loss through music and dance.
For Gallagher, the show was an opportunity to be a part of something that brings people together, which he likens to his many years in the theater. “When things work, what happens is, for a moment, nobody in that audience feels alone. For a moment, everybody feels like they belong to the same tribe. And that’s the power of storytelling. That’s why its so essential!”
Ultimately he says this is “a show about all the things that connect us, all the things that we share,” noting that the show’s musical soundtrack of popular hit songs is so effective and “powerful because they already reside in us,” allowing the audience to instantly relate to what the characters are feeling. “I was responding initially to this as a show that brings people together, it’s all about the stuff that brings us together and we are in a country right now and a world that’s very divided, for power, for politics, for profit and we’re all starting to question each other and look at each other with side-eyes, and this is all about what we share,” he explains. “People have been responding and that’s so powerful and gratifying.”