Monday, September 19, 2011

TONIGHT: 'Playboy Club' Amps Star Power With 60s' Music Tributes

New Chicago-based NBC TV series The Playboy Club, which launches tonight at 10 p.m., will feature a weekly posse of original music. The music—in the spirit of Glee—will be available on iTunes from label Verve after each episode.

The show, set in 1963, will include multiple performances from the show’s Bunny hostesses, as well as contemporary acts paying tribute to music icons that performed at the Club. Up first: “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town),” a Frank Sinatra classic performed by Laura Benanti as Bunny Carol-Lynne; and “Shake A Tail Feather,” made famous by Ike & Tina Turner, performed by guest Karen LeBlanc.

Future scheduled appearances include Colbie Caillat, Javier Colon (2011 winner of NBC’s The Voice) and Raphael Saadiq. Tributes will be paid to Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Leslie Gore and others. Cast vocals are produced by Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Richard Marx.

The Playboy Club focuses on aspiring Bunny waitresses, who sang and entertained at the club. It stars the divinely handsome Eddie Cibrian, Amber Heard, Laura Benanti & David Krumholtz.

Fun facts: * Originally titled Bunny Tales. * Playboy founder Hugh Hefner recorded a voiceover that appears in the pilot. * Without even seeing the show, knee-jerk extremist Parents Television Council condemned The Playboy Club as a "blatant attempt to obliterate any remaining standards of broadcast decency." * As absurd, the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City refused to air the show; an indie channel in the market will pick it up. * Jenna Dewan-Tatum plays a closeted lesbian Bunny. * Cibrian, now married to LeAnn Rimes, recently posed shirtless for Bloomingdales' Charisma bath and bedding products (below).