‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’: Why Jane Levy Left Horror For the Musical Series

Star of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Jane Levy been a working actor in Hollywood for quite some time. And while much of her previous work is in the horror genre, she sees herself going a different direction in the future.

Jane Levy stars in ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’

Jane Levy in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
Jane Levy as Zoey in ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ | Katie Yu/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Levy portrays the titular character in the NBC musical dramedy. Zoey Clarke is a young coder working for a big tech company in San Francisco. One day she goes to get an MRI. There’s an earthquake while she’s inside the machine, and suddenly, she sees people break out into song and dance.

Zoey soon learns that what she’s hearing are the innermost thoughts and feelings of her friends and family. This profoundly affects her relationships with her coworkers (including her boss, her best friend, and the engaged man she has a crush on) and her family. Most notably, her father, who is dying of a degenerative disease known as PSP.

The series has been picked up for a second season

Season 1 of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist began airing in January 2020. Because of this, much of it aired during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. And though there are many lighthearted moments, there is also a lot of sadness. Following the season finale in May, the show was picked up for a second season.

“It’s a musical, full of joy and silly comedy, but it also has this theme of grief, and a lot of audience members have connected with me on the internet to say that during the pandemic, the show offered them great catharsis and a great distraction. And I feel so proud and humbled by that,” Levy said in a June 2020 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

What else is Levy known for? 

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Levy has been acting for nearly a decade. She is known for playing the original Mandy Milkovich in Shameless, which she left for a main role in the sitcom Suburgatory. She also has a lot of experience in the horror genre, acting in films like Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe as well as the anthology series Castle Rock. But she’s glad to have something different out now.

“If [I’d had] a horror film that came out in the past couple of months, I’d feel less like my art had offered something to people in this way that I felt was meaningful,” she said. “I may be veering toward projects that are really full of heart rather than just, I don’t know, violence or gore.” Levy also said she’s “kind of over” all of the rape in the genre.

Why she focuses on projects that are ‘fantastical’

Despite being grounded in the real world, Levy loves the “the fantastical element” of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. “I’m not interested in watching shows or movies about people who look like me and sound like me and just go about life the way that I do. I want to see something greater.” She adds, “Blowing things out bigger, and these fantastical realities are more interesting to me as a performer.”