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Only Murders In the Building: Who are the songwriters behind Meryl Streep's big song?

Only Murders in the Building is finally leaning into musical theater

Still image from Only Murders in the building
Image credit: Hulu

It's no surprise that the writers behind Only Murders in the Building are musical fans (just look at the many Sondheim jokes sprinkled throughout season one - not to mention the very musical-theater studded cast of characters, including Mean Girls' Ashley Park this season), but we hadn't really had any actual musical theater in the show yet. Which almost seems odd considering Oliver Putnam's famed career as a (now washed out) Broadway director. That all changed this season, as a poorly timed murder leads to the cancellation of the new Broadway play that Oliver is directing, pushing him to go big and reimagine the murder mystery (wonderfully titled Death Rattle, and featuring a baby suspected of murder) as a splashy musical.

While there are funny musical bits throughout this week's episode - including a pastiche group number which seems to be tipping its hat at Jekyll and Hyde's opening number Facade and a short Fosse jazz number featuring Steve Martin, Selina Gomez, and Ryan Broussard as Oliver dreams in a feverish state about whether or not he can handle the stress of directing - the real song everyone wants to talk about is Meryl Streep's haunting lullaby titled 'Look for the Light' (with harmonies from Ashley Park that feel straight out of Waitress the musical - and for good reason too, we'll get to in a minute).

Now here's the real question - was that really Meryl Streep singing the big song? Yes, and then some, according to an interview that the LA Times conducted with the songwriters, Sara Bareilles, who wrote the lyrics and score for the musical Waitress, and Pasek and Paul, the team behind Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman. Apparently, even after filming their part of the scene, Park and Streep stuck around to sing their part again and again so the cameras could capture the other actors respond real-time to the performance.

It's certainly a magical scene, and a sets the bar high for the rest of this season too. Now that Oliver's play has taken a musical turn, hopefully we'll get at least a couple more musical numbers (and maybe some more dance?) out of this season. It seems like a shame to have such a talented cast and keep them from singing.

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