One of the most intriguing new series of the 2019-2020 TV series has been “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”, which follows the titular Zoey (Jane Levy) who has the ability to hear the thoughts of those around her — expressed in the form of pop songs, which she experiences as musical dance numbers.
As Deadline reports, this week’s episode — titled “Zoey’s Extraordinary Silence” — features a storyline featuring the deaf community, which will include a musical number produced in association with the Deaf West Theatre Company set to the Rachel Platten pop tune, “Fight Song”.
According to Deadline, the musical number is set within the deaf dorm in a college campus, featuring deaf actress Sandra Mae Frank (a veteran of the acclaimed Deaf West production of “Spring Awakening” that earned accolades when it ran in L.A. and on Broadway).
Meanwhile, series’ choreographer Mandy Moore worked closely with Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs to put together the cast of actors, who came from all over the U.S., all of of whom are deaf and communicate via American Sign Language.
“I realized very quickly that I was going to need to do some preproduction on my end, not only to make the routine, but also just to learn ASL because people think that dance and ASL go very beautifully together,” said Moore. “I think ASL is so fluid and kind of looks like dance of the hands and stuff.”
She added: “And in that rehearsal process it was very telling. Holy smokes, everything I thought I knew I threw out as soon as I got in the room which was really beautiful, fun and scary, but very cool. And we worked for about three hours I think in that initial preproduction rehearsal, and it was trying not only to understand what signs we were going to do for what words, but also adding a bit of movement to it. So say you’re signing a certain word with your hands, but then you might stomp with your feet, or you might turn around 180 and turn the other direction. Funny enough, that can really take away from the beauty and the clarity of the ASL, so that communication and that understanding and that creation took a long time to figure out.”
This special episode of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” airs Sunday, April 5.