Add the winner of NBC’s “The Voice” to the list of contemporary musical acts portraying stars of the late 1950s and early ’60s on NBC’s “The Playboy Club.”
Javier Colon will portray Ray Charles in an upcoming episode of “The Playboy Club,” singing “Let the Good Times Roll.” His appearance will follow Raphael Saadiq portraying Sam Cooke singing “We’re Having a Party” and Colbie Caillat playing Lesley Gore performing “It’s My Party.”
The show, set in 1963 in Chicago, is working on finding singers to portray James Brown and Roy Orbison in upcoming episodes; Frank Sinatra is another future target.
“They’re trying to stunt cast every episode and have fun with it,” says Geoff Bywater, senior VP of music for Twentieth Television, the unit of Fox that produces the show for NBC. “We have our eyes on stars who would be fun to cast.”
In the pilot, which airs Sept. 19, Karen Le Blanc portrays Tina Turner as she, Ike and the Ikettes tear through “Shake a Tail Feather” and “Tina’s Wish.” The Los Angeles-based production team the Transcenders is producing the tracks for the show while singer Richard Marx is working as a vocal producer in Chicago where the show is shot.
In the near future, songs recorded for the show will be posted for sale on iTunes on Fridays prior to the Monday broadcast. “Playboy Club” stars Laura Benanti, Leah Renee and Naturi Naughton who sing on the show and their songs will also be made available for download.
“One of the things we learned from ‘Glee’ is that if you don’t make the music available immediately the consumer gets frustrated – or looks for it for free,” Bywater said. “Once the show gains traction, we’ll be looking at a ‘Playboy Cub’ soundtrack. That will be down the road.”