Just when you think Dulé Hill has done it all, he finds a way to surprise you. After seven seasons keeping up with President Bartlett on The West Wing, seven seasons playing the straight man on Psych, and a lifetime of wowing audiences on Broadway, Dulé’s about to piece it all together in the long-awaited Psych two-hour special event, “Psych: The Musical.”
The anticipation is pretty insane for “Psych: The Musical.” You gave Psych fans—the Psych-Os—a sneak peek at Comic-Con this past July. What was their reaction like?
The Psych-Os’ reaction to “Psych: The Musical” was insane! They loved it! I am always humbled by the love and dedication of our fans. We have been talking about doing a musical for a few years now and to finally deliver something that they really enjoyed was extremely rewarding. We film all of our episodes in Vancouver so we don’t get to interact with the Psych-Os too often. But whenever we do it is always a thrilling experience.
Your exceptional acting and dancing are well documented—no surprises there. But we’re always floored when you shift into triple-threat mode and open up those pipes! “Psych: The Musical” really lets you showcase your vocal abilities. What was that experience like?
It is always a blast living out my Harold Nicholas and Gregory Hines dreams. When I first started in show business at the age of 10 my first gig called for me to act, sing, and dance. In my adult career I haven’t really had the chance to sing that often. Psych has been a gift in that area. Whether it has been for the Psych Outs, [or the] “American Duos” or “Blackapella” episodes, Psych has given me a chance to explore singing in a fun way. When the musical came along it was the icing on the cake! I had so much fun singing all these new Steve Franks tunes that I was inspired to pursue it further!
Do you have any favorite musicals? If so, did any of them inspire your approach to “Psych: The Musical?”
My favorite musical is Stormy Weather with Lena Horne and Bill Robinson. Beyond the fact that Lena Horne’s version of [the song] “Stormy Weather” is one of my favorites of all time, the amazing tap number at the end of the film by the Nicholas Brothers is one of the main reasons I’ve had the dream to do musicals on film.
The Nicholas Brothers’ number definitely inspired some of my movements in the opening number. And all of the great tap dancers from Bill Robinson to John Bubbles to Tip, Tap & Toe to Gene Kelly to Honi Coles to Fred Astaire inspired the quick tap number that I do in the movie.
Any surprises or teasers you care to share with us about Psych season eight?
In the season eight episode “1967: A Psych Odyssey,” our love of singing on Psych continues. Wonderfully directed by Kirsten Nelson, we go back in time and Gus gets a chance to see himself as a 60’s soul crooner.
Time to impress us with your powers of prognostication… what does the future hold for Dulé Hill?
Hmmm, let’s see. First, more singing and dancing on Broadway in After Midnight. Then, hopefully, more musicals on screen (big or small). And finally, creating more enjoyable hours of television for years to come. I love what I do and I am forever grateful for the blessing of this journey I am on.
Be sure to catch the Psych two-hour special event, “Psych: The Musical,” Sunday, December 15, at 9/8c on USA Network (channel 242).