Pretty Much Pop #41: Made-for-TV Musicals w/ Craig Wedren

Craig (beyond being a rock god) has created music for many TV shows, including Glow, Shrill, Mrs. Fletcher, and Wet Hot American Summer. He joins Mark, Erica, and Brian due to his involvement with Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, which along with Glee, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Nashville, Rise, etc. represents a new era of musicals as mainstream TV.

Why now? These shows all use some narrative explanation for why there’s singing (i.e. the songs are diagetic) instead of just having the characters sing as in a classic musical or a film like The Greatest Showman or La La Land. Most of these also make heavy use of cover tunes and/or parodies in a way that stage musicals usually don’t. And of course there’s often a heavy use of autotune and more star-based casting choice than is the norm for stage productions.

Some articles to provide an overview of the topic:

Note that Craig doesn’t do the actual songs the cast members sing for Zoey’s, just the interstitial music, but he’s written heaps of songs and is in a great position to talk with us about everything from Cop Rock to Mama Mia. We also touch on musical episodes in Communityand Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bohemian Rhapsody, karaoke in film, Adam Schlesinger, Stop Making Sense (also see David Byrne’s mobile band on Colbert) and a weird Netflix lip-sync drama called Soundtrack,

Listen to Craig talk about his own tunes on Nakedly Examined Music and watch his daily Sabbath Sessions at or on YouTube. Hear the song he wrote for School of Rock.

Craig layering his 19th vocal part on the sabbath that is every day at 5pm Pacific Time.

This episode includes bonus discussion that you can hear now by supporting the podcast at

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