ABC Family's Lovestruck: The Musical is a love story with a magical twist.
The television movie follows Broadway star-turned-choreographer Harper, whose daughter -- and star of her next production -- Mirabella makes the decision to quit the show in order to get married to playboy Marco. When Harper catches wind of her daughter's new priorities, she is determined to show Mirabella that love does not always trump career. That's where the twist comes in: While on her way to stop her daughter's wedding in Italy, Harper unknowingly drinks an elixir, turning her three decades younger. Get all that?
Ask Sara Paxton, who plays Mirabella, to explain the multi-layered premise and the actress embarrassingly admits to The Hollywood Reporter, "It's complicated," before spending a good minute running through the logline. Jane Seymour, Chelsea Kane, Drew Seeley and Tom Wopat co-star in what Paxton calls a "romantic comedy" with a "supernatural" bent.
The initial concept may be out there, but at the core, it's all about everyday dynamics. "There are a bunch of different relationships [explored]," Paxton promises. "There's the mother and daughter, there's Mirabella's relationship with her fiance, there's the rekindling romance with Harper and Mirabella's father [Ryan]."
If that doesn't strike your fancy, "there's singing and dancing," the actress says, "and it's also funny."
For Paxton, the musical elements of Lovestruck were what struck her fancy. "I grew up singing and dancing, and doing musical theater. I haven't done a movie like this so I thought this would be really fun," she says, adding that the cast had a full month of rehearsals to prepare for the movie's big dances in addition to vocal training.
Researching past musicals wasn't necessary for Paxton. They were already in her blood. "I grew up watching Grease, West Side Story and Oklahoma! so for me, this is fulfilling a childhood dream," Paxton says. "When the project was presented to me I was like, 'Oh my god! I'm going to be Sandy!' "
The final routine is high up on Paxton's list, if anything for the scale of it. "The grand finale dance number was so amazing to film," Paxton says. "We had 25 dancers. We had to learn all the steps and shoot the entire thing in one sequence. You can't stop. It's literally a stage production being filmed with three cameras."
Some of the artists that the cast covers during Lovestruck include Madonna, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston and Usher, as well as several original songs.
Watch a routine featuring "Like a Virgin" below:
Lovestruck: The Musical airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC Family.