'Buffy the Vampire Slayer': Alyson Hannigan 'Begged on Her Knees' to Sing as Little as Possible In the Musical Episode, Joss Whedon Said

It is fair to say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a cult classic. The term is usually referred to movies, but Buffy has enough diehard fans decades later to earn the title.

The show is weird, quirky, and has cast of complicated characters that fans still swoon over. With everything that happened over Buffy’s eight seasons, it is easy for fans to forget that there was a musical episode of Buffy. According to The Ringer, not all the cast was thrilled about singing. 

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ doesn’t seem like the type of show that would have a musical episode

The beauty of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that it constantly surprised fans. And the biggest surprise of all might have been the musical episode. “Once More, With Feeling,” was the seventh episode of the sixth season. The season started out uncharacteristically dark for Buffy. Her first words in the season premiere were “Is this hell?” which seemed to be a harbinger for a sad season to come. Despite the fact that Buffy focused on demon slaying, it wasn’t necessarily a dark show. 

Joss Whedon, Buffy’s creator, always wanted to do a musical, and he chose to put the episode right in the middle of the dark sixth season. It was silly, uplifting, and a success. 

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s’ Alyson Hannigan “begged on her knees” to sing as little as possible in the musical episode, Joss Whedon said

Alyson Hannigan, who played Buffy’s friend Willow, was the most averse to singing and dancing. To pull off a musical episode, Whedon brought in an experienced choreographer. Adam Shankman consulted on the episode, and claims that Hannigan “begged me on her knees to have her sing as little as possible.” As a result, Willow only has two lines in “Once More, With Feeling.” 

Shankman knew that the cast would be reluctant to dance and sing for the episode. After all, they weren’t professional dancers or singers. Hannigan’s reluctance was understandable. Some of the original plans for the episode simply had to be cut when the cast couldn’t perform the moves or sing the song correctly. Shankman took it in stride. “So if there was something they couldn’t do, we just didn’t do it.” Although Hannigan only had two lines, she did sing in the episode. So did the rest of the cast. 

ALL of the main ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ cast sang in the episode 

Even though many of the main cast members were reluctant to sing, ALL of the cast sang in the show. Buffy herself was reluctant to sing, even though she belts out quite a few numbers in the episode. Sarah Michelle Gellar didn’t want to sing at first, but when she read the script she was convinced. She knew the episode was important to move Buffy’s character arc along, and having Shankman on board eased her fears. 

Shankman wasn’t the only musical expert brought on board for “Once More, With Feeling.” The demon in that episode was played by a Broadway star. Hinton Battle already had multiple Tony’s to his name when he was recruited for “Once More, With Feeling.” He’s unrecognizable thanks to his demon costume, but his talent is undeniable.

Shankman thought that having a veteran like Battle made the episode much easier to make. “Bringing in somebody like [Battle] was really, really fun,” he said. Perhaps having someone so talented made the cast feel more at ease, since they weren’t carrying the episode with their limited musical skills. After all, as producer David Solomon said of the cast, “they’re not professional singers in any way.”

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