Meryl Streep is just two episodes into her guest stint on Season 3 of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, but she has already made a big impact with not only her acting, but her singing as well.
After two critically acclaimed seasons, the “building” referred to in the show’s title has shifted from apartments to a theater for the third installment of this murder-mystery fun, which this time centers around what happened to a performer played by Paul Rudd.
Tuesday’s new episode, called “Grab Your Hankies,” ended with an original song called “Look for the Light” which was written for the show by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Sara Bareilles and performed by Streep and, eventually, Ashley Park.
And just to break this down a little further: Park is a Tony-nominated Broadway star-turned-Hollywood actress; songwriter Bareilles is also a Grammy-winning singer and performer; Paul and Pasek are the Oscar-, Grammy- and Tony-winning composers of hits ranging from La La Land to The Greatest Showman to Dear Evan Hansen; and Streep is, well, Meryl Streep.
So needless to say, the song was a huge hit with pretty much everybody, including Streep herself. Only Murders in the Building showrunner John Hoffman told The Wrap recently that the actress immediately fell in love with the song when she first heard it over Zoom.
“Writing a song together, for Meryl Streep, was beyond any of our wildest dreams. It was the honor of a lifetime to watch a legend, who is both magnificent and humble, at work,” Paul and Pasek said in a statement to People. “Her performance in this number is equal parts emotional, tender, vulnerable and filled with her signature quiet strength.”
Bareilles said in a statement that she is “such a fan of Only Murders and of Pasek and Paul, so the idea of writing together for the first time, especially to offer something to someone like Meryl Streep truly felt like a dream. … Meryl was gentle and focused, and I loved her musicality and her willingness to share her process. Ashley Park’s glorious counter melody was added later, and I got goosebumps the first time I heard it. It truly couldn’t have been a more seamless experience — how lucky am I to be a part of it!”
Meanwhile viewers reacting on social media are pretty much ready for the whole album.
Streep has sung in films before — like Into the Woods and Mamma Mia! for instance — so for this one, the episode’s director, Adam Shankman, told the Los Angeles Times that he wanted the spotlight to be on the simplicity of the performance. And it seemed to work.
Only Murders in the Building kicked off in 2021 and marked Steve Martin’s first regular starring role in a television series, and also stars Selena Gomez and Martin Short, with various guest stars joining each season. The show previously scored a viral music hit with the Martin-performed ditty “Angel in Flip-Flops.”
As for “Look for the Light,” the song is part of a newly hatched idea from Short’s character to turn a dramatic play into a musical to try and flush out a killer. And while that may or may not help solve this season’s murder, it put Streep directly in the discussion for an Emmy Award.
Only Murders in the Building streams new episodes Tuesdays on Hulu.