‘Transparent’ – A musical farewell to the Pfeffermans
It is said that growth occurs when one steps out of one’s comfort zone. Amy Landecker experienced this when filming the series finale of “Transparent.”
In the 100-minute movie titled “Transparent: Musicale Finale,” which begins streaming Friday, Sept. 27, on Amazon, the entire Pfefferman family – including mom Shelly (Judith Light), offspring Josh, Sarah and Ali (Jay Duplass, Landecker and Gaby Hoffmann) – and others burst into song as they cope with themselves, their neuroses and one another in the aftermath of transgender patriarch Maura’s death.
Which meant for Landecker, who had no prior musical theater experience, there would be singing.
“Which scared the crap out of me …,” the actress admitted to a recent gathering of journalists in Beverly Hills, Calif. “And when we shot it, you know, I was so petulant and angry and child-like because my fear was so high. And, you know, it’s just one of those – talk about risk spaces – this show has always pushed the artists to our limit of expression and creativity, and it’s thrilling and terrifying, always; right? And I was laughing looking at the script for the musical going like oh, finally Sarah – I’m not going to have any sex scenes, this is going to be easy. And then it was like, oh, no, now I’m singing which is way scarier and more vulnerable.”
But she and her cast mates – including fellow musical newbies Duplass, Hoffmann and Kathryn Hahn as well as seasoned pros Light, Alexandra Billings and Shakina Nayfack – acquit themselves quite nicely here as their characters come to grips with Maura’s demise.
That storyline, of course, was prompted by the departure of the actor who played Maura, Jeffrey Tambor, who was dropped from the series as a result of a sexual harassment scandal. One might think doing what could be a somber story as a musical an odd choice, especially given the circumstances, but series creator Jill Soloway felt it necessary.
“When people turn to song instead of conversation it’s because there are certain things that can’t be said with words, and so the character must sing,” she explains. “And … we needed to find a new way to enter this story. … We had been dreaming of a Broadway musical one day, and we were starting to kind of imagine the Pfefferman family singing. And so, I pitched it to (Amazon Studios CEO Jennifer Salke), ‘What if it was a musical movie?’ And she said, ‘Great.’ And here we are.”