How 'The Broken Hearts Gallery' Staged a Delightful Themed Karaoke Scene

The new movie has an adorable ode to singing with your friends.

broken hearts
Sony Pictures

Watching The Broken Hearts Gallery, the cute rom-com braving the strange release schedule in theaters right now, I was gobsmacked by one scene in particular. Midway through Natalie Krinsky's movie about Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan), a girl who hoards keepsakes of her romances, there's a riotous karaoke scene. This dovetailed perfectly with our celebration of the art of singing your butt off at a crowded bar or in a room with friends, so we talked to Krinsky and the movie's stars about just how one stages a perfect karaoke moment.

Pick an incredible theme

This is not just any karaoke party. It's a "murder-karaoke" party, hosted by Lucy's sardonic best friend Amanda (Molly Gordon). "Natalie, our director and writer, has a friend who expresses love through violent language and violence, and so this character was inspired by that," Gordon says. Per Krinsky, Amanda loves true-crime and karaoke and just decided to combine those loves. "I felt like she wouldn't have the normal birthday party," Krinsky says. What exactly constitutes a murder-karaoke party? Well, Amanda's dressed like a nurse with a slashed throat, and (most) of the songs are about death or killing or insanity. "I have not done a themed karaoke party," Krinsky says. "I will say that I do hope that, after the movie, it's a trend that sweeps the nation and maybe murder-karaoke will be everyone's next birthday celebration."

broken hearts gallery
Sony Pictures

Choose your songs wisely 

As mentioned, the choices were largely centered around death to match with the theme, so Hamilton star Phillipa Soo, as Lucy's other pal Nadine, belts "(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight" by The Cutting Crew. However, all three girls form a trio to sing the Ava Max pop hit, "Sweet But Psycho," which is both semi on theme and an inside joke from the cast. "In our downtime and off camera, Pippa and Geraldine and Molly sort of had this electric immediate friendship between them," Krinsky remembers. "And they started improvising, just on the side, [an] a cappella [rendition of] 'Sweet but Psycho.' I got wind of it. And I was like, first of all, in its own irreverent way it's a song that completely captures our movie. It's sweet, but it's a little bit psycho." Soo remembers Viswanathan playing the song first and then Gordon mimicking the scream at the beginning of the track. "We just were giggling nonstop and Natalie was like, 'Oh, this is gold,'" Soo says. The last number is a bit thematically deviant: Lucy and her love interest Nick (Dacre Montgomery) do "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart."

Try to party

Being on a movie set is not like being at a karaoke bar, of course. For one, you're not throwing back beers, and, as Gordon recalled, it's like 6am when you're shooting. But Krinsky tried to keep the party vibe alive. "They'll tell you I was singing and dancing and screaming at the top of my lungs behind the camera along with them," she says. She also didn't want to waste the talent that she had. One of the reasons she got the idea for the karaoke sequence was that she had the likes of Soo and Gordon, also a musical theater performer, in the cast.

"We have Tony-nominated Phillipa Soo in a 20-person bar in the middle of Toronto being able to sing for us," Krinsky says. "This is magical joy that we can all appreciate." Soo, for her part, doesn't usually gravitate toward karaoke because she sings for her job. That is, unless she has properly partook in party libations. "Once everybody has had enough drinks, I feel like karaoke can be fun no matter what," she says. And sometimes you don't even need alcohol to get the sillies. As Gordon recalls: "I feel like we all got so tired and we're all feeling so kooky and it was so late at night that we all felt a little drunk."

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.