Are you ready for the singing surgeons of Seattle Grace?
ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” goes “Glee” — sort of — tonight at 9 on WCVB (Ch. 5) in “The Song Beneath the Song,” an episode that is anything but lighthearted.
After ramming into the back of a truck last week, Callie (Sara Ramirez) has been thrown through the windshield. (The opening moments are graphic and frightening.) As her friends scramble to save her and the life of her unborn child, Callie has an out-of-body experience in which she hears her colleagues vocalizing their emotions.
Good news for fans: Dr. Owen Hunt — and actor Kevin McKidd — is featured prominently in the musical hour.
Owen has been on the back burner as McKidd directed the “Grey’s” webisodes and a TV episode. “We haven’t seen me onscreen as some would like,” he told the Herald earlier this week, but that’s about to change.
He, along with Ramirez and Chandra Wilson, has an extensive theatrical background and was a natural to step into tonight’s spotlight. He even has a solo number — “How We Operate” — though the actor warned that he’s not sure how much will air. (The entire cast album will be available on iTunes.) Shooting took twice as long as a regular episode because the cast needed intensive rehearsals to get the timing right to match the vocals.
The Scottish actor said he had no problem singing with an American inflection. “A couple of times, my accent slipped, but it was no big deal.”
Other songs tonight: “Running on Sunshine,” “Grace,” “Chasing Cars,” “Breath” and, naturally, “How to Save a Life,” with McKidd, Ellen Pompeo, Kim Raver and almost the entire cast sharing vocals.
Last week, Owen became responsible for picking the new chief resident, the job his wife, Cristina (Sandra Oh), wants. “It’s definitely going to lead to some heated moments between the two of them.”
That’s just the beginning.
“Cristina and Owen have been in a happy place for a time, and we need trouble for the storytelling, and they hit a bit of a snarl-up. It becomes complicated this year.”
Reflecting on the couple’s popularity, he said, “People are always worried the writers are going to break them up. On paper, Cristina and Owen don’t make sense, and yet they do make sense and I couldn’t imagine Cristina and Owen with anyone else.”
To many fans, McKidd will always be remembered as the Roman soldier Lucius Vorenus in HBO’s late, lamented “Rome.” Addressing long-standing rumors of a big-screen cast reunion, he said, “(Creator) Bruno Heller has a script drafted, and I would love to do it. It’s a question of getting the money (to finance it). There’s such an appetite for that show, I think at some point it will get done. I’m ready to put my sandals back on.”
Off-set, McKidd is busy providing one of the voices in an upcoming Disney
Pixar film “Brave.”
He’s also been approached about starring in a Broadway musical opening later this year. “I’m just looking at the timing,” he said. “It’s the next box in a list that hasn’t been ticked off.” He also will be visiting Mozambique to support the grassroots charity, Partners for Pediatric Progress, designed to lower childhood morbidity in third world countries.
As for tonight’s episode, “Glee” comparisons aren’t apt. “It’s not like we’re doing tap dance routines. We’re saving that for the special ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ episode next year,” he joked.