Lovely Sara Ramirez — better known as Dr. Callie Torres on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy — soared in a special ‘musical’ episode of the Emmy Award winning ABC drama Thursday night.
Ramirez — an accomplished singer who won a Tony in 2005 for her show-stopping role as the Lady of the Lake in Broadway’s hilarious Spamalot –literally took center stage in the episode titled “Song Beneath the Song.”
The episode prominently featured the uber-talented Ramirez singing several songs, but several castmates also sang, including Broadway vet Chandra (Dr. Miranda Bailey) Wilson, Kevin (Dr. Owen Hunt) McKidd, and Chyler (Dr. Lexie Grey) Leigh.
(‘Grey’s’ leads including Patrick Dempsey, Jesse Williams, and Sandra Oh apparently opted not to belt out a tune).
The episode began with an extremely graphic scene of pregnant Callie near death – and having an out-of-body experience — after a horrifying car accident, shortly after her lover, Arizona Roberts (played by Jessica Chapsaw) proposes.
The hour-long episode featured songs that were near-and-dear to the hearts of ‘Grey’s’ fans; some of the songs that were featured Thursday night were little known songs used in the show’s first few seasons, including Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars and The Fray’s How to Save a Life.
Among the many highlights of the show: Lexie singing Breathe, and most of the cast — including Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Daniel Sunjata and guest star Scott Foley –lending their voices for a rousing version of Running On Sunshine.
The episode ended with Callie — whose preemie miraculously survived an emergency early birth — waking up to accept Arizona’s proposal.
While Ramirez is getting good reviews for her performance, overall reviews for the show itself appear mixed so far. While The Boston Herald thought several of the actors pulled off notable performances, the writer was not a big fan of the concept.
“I really wanted to love this episode,” wrote Herald critic Mark Perigard. “But the Grey’s Anatomy ‘event’ proved how tricky it is for an established show, especially a drama, to pull off a musical episode.”
Perigard did sing praises for Ramirez and added: “Chandra Wilson and Chyler Leigh (whom I never have anything good to say about) delivered some impressive vocal work..Eric Dane did some of his best acting of his career last night as an anxious father-to-be terrified he would lose his best friend. Jessica Capshaw was appropriately numb as Arizona, bleeding, trying to figure out how her proposal went so awry.” (Arizona had just proposed to Torres when she crashed into a truck, causing Torres to fly through the windshield.)
“Other shows have done musical episodes before – “Scrubs,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (Shonda Rhimes’ inspiration) – but we’re talking about shows that are either light-hearted or fantastical in nature. This felt like an episode of “Cop Rock” – out of tune,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal had few very good things to say about the special episode.
“If Glee, and E.R. had a baby it would be tonight’s episode of the medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” titled “Song Beneath the Song,” wrote The Journal’s Lyneka Little.
“The doctors sing to Callie as she’s being wheeled to surgery. It’s unclear if she was crying from the pain or the sound of their voices, which were equally painful,” she adds. “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, meet Grey’s Anatomy: The Musical.”
The stars admitted they were nervous about how the show would be received.
Capshaw, who performed KT Tunstall’s “Universe & U,” told the Hollywood Reporter prior to the broadcast of the episode: “There were many times where I felt like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re doing the best episode of Grey’s Anatomy ever. And there were other times where I thought, ‘Did we drink the Kool-Aid and we’re all terrible?’ “
Grey’s Anatomy returns next Thursday at 8/9c on ABC.