Thursday, March 31, 2011

The TV Musical Part II: Covers

This is part two of a two part post on musical tv moments/episodes. Today we focus on TV shows featuring covers of songs in advance of tonight's Grey's Anatomy's musical episode, "Song Beneath the Song." Two weeks ago we looked at TV performances of original songs in advance of the Glee episode "Original Song." 

Grey's Anatomy has been notable for popularizing several songs, most notably The Fray's "How to Save a Life" and Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars." Tonight, the show ventures into performing many of the songs that have appeared on the show, including those two.

While Grey's has the talent for musical performances (Sara Ramirez won a Tony award for her performance in Spamalot in 2005 while Chandra Wilson starred on Broadway in Chicago a few years ago), the show does not naturally lend itself to Glee-like production numbers. It will be interesting to see what direction they take this in.

It is certainly not the first time a scripted tv series has had its stars break out into well known songs. While Glee does this on a week to week basis, several other shows have featured out-of-character musical numbers from their stars.

While my intention was to include clips of some of my favorites as I did two weeks ago, most of these videos are not available online due to copyright issues, so we are limited to a list:

The Office has done two cast numbers of popular songs, with Kevin leading the cast in a rendition of Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" in "Beach Day," and Andy leading the cast in Macy Gray's "I Try" in "Andy's Play."

The cast of 30 Rock performed a slightly altered version of "Midnight Train to Georgia" in "Episode 210," complete with a cameo from Gladys Knight herself.

The finale of Will & Grace included a somewhat odd duet of the classic "Unforgettable" from Karen and Jack.

Finally, before Emma was blinded by the catchy tune of the Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" on Glee earlier this month, Arrested Development played the same joke in the episode "Afternoon Delight," featuring dueling performances by Michael and Maebe and Lindsay and George Michael.

What other musical performances would you add?

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