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Seattle Grace is about to break into song.
Grey’s Anatomy will air a musical episode, creator Shonda Rhimes confirms. But Dr. McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) won’t be dancing while doing brain surgery.
“Nobody is going to be dancing and singing down the halls; that’s not our show,” Rhimes tells TVGuide.com. “Our show is known for its music. I very much wanted to do something that was musical without being a musical.”
That means stars like Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres) — who won a Tony — and singer Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey) will be written heavily into the storyline.
“You will be very surprised to discover that some people sing quite well. That’s sort of a little gift to the fans, to discover that people who are not necessarily known for singing have pretty great voices. Also, some people won’t be singing because it doesn’t go with the story,” says Rhimes.
“It’s definitely a Callie-heavy story, but it’s a story that we would’ve told whether there was singing or not. It’s always nice to have a Tony winner on deck to do a little singing,” she adds.
“[Ours] is sort of the opposite of that in a weird way,” Rhimes says. “They did an all-out, show-stopping, Broadway kind of musical. This is very different.”
She felt it was now or never: “We keep saying that Season 6 and 7 are seasons to try anything and everything that we’ve always wanted to do. I’ve wanted to do a musical episode since the first day we started shooting Season 1. Now, we’re in that place that we have the space to try it.”
The plot hasn’t been fully fleshed out yet.
“The storyline is in very early stages. We’re not going to have an episode where you turn on the television and people are singing for no reason. It has a reason, there’s a story underneath it and there’s a point to the whole thing. I’m still nervous about it, because you can do something like this and it can come out not the way you intended. I have been working on this very carefully because I want it to still be our show, but also heighten it,” explains Rhimes.
One thing they know for sure: “Part of the way I figured out that we could do this was to take the songs that our show has made iconic and have them be sung by our cast members, as opposed to singing Broadway songs or singing some songs by a known artist.”
“We’re simply singing songs that Grey’s Anatomy has made famous,” Rhimes goes on, likely referring to Snow Patrol‘s “Chasing Cars” or The Fray’s “How to Save a Life.” (“I don’t want to talk about any particular songs yet because we’re still in the process of clearing everything,” she says.)
“But when [executive producer] Betsy Beers and I sat down to make the list, we joked that we have too many songs that we could use. It became about picking the most iconic ones, the ones that best suited our singers, and the ones that made the most sense,” adds Rhimes.
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