The time has finally come! Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist returns to NBC tonight with its Season 2 premiere. I’ve already gone on and on about how much I adore the show and why I think you should give it a shot even if you suspect it’s not really your thing. But, if you need more convincing, we’ve got Jane Levy and choreographer Mandy Moore here to tell you all about their journey with Season 1, tease a little of what’s to come in Season 2 and to discuss their experience filming the new season during the pandemic.
We already had the pleasure of hearing about Levy’s earliest days working on the show on Collider Connected, so this time around, we got Moore’s perspective on the first stages of development. What’s the very first thing Moore needed to know about the cast members so she could deliver her best possible work? Here’s what she told us:
“Basically anytime I work with anyone who’s gonna dance, the number one thing I need to know is, do you know your right from your left? That’s basically it because the rest of it, I can help! [Laughs] And I want to get in there and help and coach.”
A nice, simple place to start right there, but once they got into actual rehearsals for the pilot episode, they did hit a little snag. Moore explained:
“On the pilot, [we] had a dance studio that was basically rented out for us. It was the upstairs of this business building somewhere in downtown Vancouver, and we actually had the cops called on us because we were making so much noise that the downstairs people called the cops. So that’s the first time I ever had the cops shut down a rehearsal.”
As for Levy’s process specifically, Moore took a moment to highlight what she loves most about Levy as a collaborator:
“We were in there with Richard [Shepard], our director, and Perri Nemiroff Austin [Winsberg] and obviously Peter [Gallagher] and Jane were there. We started breaking down ‘True Colors’ and I just loved Jane’s process. She’s like, ‘Who, what, where, when, why?’ And I’m like, ‘Great! I love!’ And then once we get into that, let’s figure out how we do it. You know, ‘Who, what, where, when, why … how?’ That’s usually how it works.”
Levy jumped in to describe the evolution of her working relationship with Moore from pilot shoot to Season 1 pick-up:
“I feel like I really got to know Mandy prepping for when we had gotten picked up and we were going into Season 1 and we started with Episode 2, which was a huge boom right out the gate [with] ‘I’ve Got The Music In Me.’ I feel like that’s when we really got to know each other and how each other work. First of all, in the pilot, we’re all together discovering what the show’s gonna be and we’re learning day to day and crafting and collaborating and it’s being formed in front of our eyes.”
During that formation process, Levy’s feelings about the show actually went through an progression that might be similar to hesitant viewers out there. And I was certainly one of them way back in January of 2020! Here’s how she explained it:
“You get to know me and I’m a very big softie, but there is an exterior that you have to get through and when I first read the pilot, I was like, ‘Okay, this could be either really moving or it can be so cringey to have this man turn around and sing ‘True Colors’ to me. It’s just such a wild journey for me reading that and thinking that, and then the profound experiences I had with Peter that were extremely emotional and pivotal for the series and my career as an actress.”
And that right there mirrors why the show itself is so special, too! Yes, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is packed with colorful, high-energy musical numbers, but they also hold great value for the characters, contributing to their growth and serving as catalysts to express emotion.
If you’d like to hear more from Levy and Moore, you can check out our full conversation at the top of this article! Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 kicks off on Tuesday, January 5th on NBC, and if you still need to play catch-up, Season 1 is available to stream on Hulu.
Jane Levy and Mandy Moore:
- 00:40 – Moore explains how past projects are coming in handy on Zoey.
- 01:23 – Moore on one of her very first meetings with Levy.
- 01:52 – They discuss what they needed to know about each other so that they could do their best work.
- 05:28 – Moore highlights the unsung heroes of her team; Levy on why Moore and her team are so inspiring.
- 07:21 – Moore insists anyone can dance; figuring out how to adapt to each cast member’s process.
- 10:13 – Levy highlights the pros of working opposite someone with a different process.
- 11:44 – Moore’s top tip for someone who’s afraid to dance.
- 13:29 – Moore and Levy on their hopes for Season 2 of the show; the challenge of filming during a pandemic.
- 19:23 – Levy talks about this adorable kitten on her instagram.
‘The Little Things,’ ‘Search Party’ Season 4, a new ‘Euphoria’ special episode, and more are coming this month.
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