Zoey’s Playlist Star John Clarence Stewart Shares How Personal Loss Helped Role, Favorite Karaoke Song, Puts Team Simon Critics to Rest

Written by: Emily Mae Heller – April 21st, 2020 11:54pm pst

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The musical dramedy, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist has taken musical lovers by storm and caused some heated conversations about Team Max vs. Team Simon! 

John Clarence Stewart, who plays Simon, in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist joined our aftershow panel to discuss Episode 10, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Outburst” with hosts Brandon Hanna, Emily Mae, Amir Yassi, and Kittie Kaboom. This was an emotionally heavy episode for his character who was recovering from a major break-up and we discussed it all! 

(Source: IMDB)

The hosts shared their overall thoughts on the episode and John added,”everyone takes a step forward but it’s all earned. The beautiful thing about this episode for me is that it shows how messy things can get, it shows how no one is perfect. It shows how people that we love can sometimes hurt us,” he shared with us. 

Simon’s relationship status with Jessica has been bumpy and is the talk of the town among fans. John shared, “I think the relationship was growing gradually as it needed to, but there was something that happened after his dad passed that made him want to have some kind of family, something solid of his own. But then as things got closer…things started getting more real.”  

(Source: IMDB)

John also shared with us the internal struggle that his character, Simon, has in his relationship with Zoey. “I don’t think Zoey does anything wrong. I think that Simon is not communicating. He doesn’t know how to communicate to Zoey what’s actually happening, and Zoey, always tries to fill in the gaps.” 

In response to the panel’s inquiries about Zoey and Simon’s dinner date, John responded, “I think there’s been a lot of things that have been going on, a lot of things that haven’t been said that need to be said. But, I also think that he’s running away…he doesn’t want to be alone by himself…He’s always like five steps ahead of someone else’s emotional intelligence.” John continued about Simon’s moral clarity, “I see in Simon someone who is really trying to do the right thing.” 

(Source: IMDB)

We dove deep into how John portrays Simon and how he pulls from his real life experience to really represent Simon in an authentic way. 

John spoke about the loss of his father and how this was showcased in the emotional state of Simon as well…”I lost my father….but the thing is like, there is this denial. And there’s this, there’s this refusal to accept a new norm. And the idea that like, I will cling to anything and everything that is close to me that feels like intimacy, that feels real, so that I don’t have to believe.” 

(Source: IMDB)

The cast had fun on set and off, John shared they all went out to sing karaoke when they were cast in their roles. We discussed our favorite go-to karaoke songs, John picked “When Doves Cry” by Prince. I would definitely love to see him jam out to that! 

The writers and creators of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist have written a powerful, relatable, and moving show for audiences with dance numbers that speak to us and moments that bring us to tears. John shared how it was working with the creative team throughout the process,“The writers are brilliant! It’s so beautiful that everybody is going on a journey, everyone’s going on a journey, everyone is traveling somewhere. And in that, I think there’s a lot of opportunity…. There’s a lot of different access points, you know, and as the characters grow.” 

(Source: IMDB)

As I watch each episode every week, I see that each moment of music and dancing is carefully crafted and the characters are given a powerful voice that connects to the fans every week. And Simon is proof of that! 

It was a pleasure having John on AfterBuzz TV and we can’t wait to watch the last few episodes of the season. If you’re a fan of Zoey’s Playlist, John Clarence Stewart, AfterBuzz TV or our Quarantine with the Stars series, please share this article with a friend.  Please watch our Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist aftershow here on Sunday nights at 10 pm PST after Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs on NBC, too. Tune in and sing your heart out! 

About The Author:

Emily Mae Heller is an Emmy-nominated film, tv, live events, and theatre producer, born and raised in Los Angeles with a deep passion for storytelling, sports, and entertainment.

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