‘Gilmore Girls’ Star Lauren Graham Felt ‘Powerful’ After ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ Move

Lauren Graham is back on TV and back on NBC. The Gilmore Girls star was on NBC’s Parenthood, and now she’s on the network’s musical Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Zoey (Jane Levy) can hear people’s innermost thoughts expressed as covers of hit songs with elaborate choreography. Graham plays Zoey’s boss Joan.

Lauren Graham in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
Lauren Graham | Katie Yu/NBC

Graham was on a Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist panel for the Television Critics Association on Jan. 11. She discussed one musical number whose choreography she almost refused to perform, but when she did it made her feel powerful. The first episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is already online and new episodes air Sundays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Why Lauren Graham wanted to be on ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’

There were many reasons Graham wanted to be on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. First was the musical numbers. “It’s what drew me to the show,” Graham said. Then, there was her costar.

“First of all, Jane is my dear friend,” Graham said. “She’s incredible in the show, and it was almost a joke between us that I would play this part. And then it came up, and it became a reality.”

L-R: Lauren Graham and Jane Levy | Sergei Bachlakov/NBC

Thirdly, the role of Joan was unique to Lorelai Gilmore, Sarah Braverman or any other role Graham had played.

“I hadn’t played the boss, if ever, in a long time,” Graham said. “So many things about this were really a gift, and I’m just really thankful to be a member of this cast.”

Lauren Graham had a musical background before ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’

Graham played Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls in 2009, but her musical experience dates back long before that. She’d sung before too, but for much smaller audiences in the past.

“Basically, I’m just a musical theater nerd from high school times and then was in an a capella group,” Graham said. “Just everything about the show felt like a winner to me. It just felt really fresh and really special and really happy.”

‘Extraordinary’ choreography

Choreographer Mandy Moore choreographs Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’s musical numbers. When she got to Graham’s song and dance scenes, Moore made Broadway look like a piece of cake.

“In terms of Mandy, the bar kept getting raised,” Graham said. “I was, like, ‘Okay. I’m dancing. I haven’t done that in a while. That’s fine.’ And then she would be like, ‘Okay. So in this next song, you get up on the bar.’ And I was like, ‘I’m sorry. What?’ She’s like, ‘Then you’ll get up on the bar, and you’ll dance with other people, and you’ll fly off the bar, and then some guy will catch you.’”

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist: Lauren Graham
Lauren Graham | Katie Yu/NBC

Most actors don’t do their own stunts. When it comes to jumping into another performer’s arms, they normally leave that to trained stuntpeople. However, Graham reluctantly did the choreography as Moore instructed and realized she could do more than she initially thought.

“I was like, ‘I don’t think so,’” Graham said. “But then I did it, and it’s so powerful. It’s just so fun. I’m so interested in continuing to learn and try to grow.”