The cast and creatives of the hit Apple TV+ musical series “Schmigadoon!” arrived at the TV Academy’s Saban Media Center in high spirits on Thursday night. Despite the rainy welcome, which forced the red carpet indoors, the theater was packed with fans and TV Academy voters who were treated to the first three episodes of season two.
Having found true love in the town of Schmigadoon, season two of “Schmigadoon!” finds Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (Cecily Strong) in Schmicago, the reimagined world of ’60s and ’70s musicals. The second season of Apple’s broadly acclaimed comedy will include new original musical numbers from co-creator, executive producer and showrunner Cinco Paul, as well as returning stars Cecily Strong, Keegan-Michael Key, Ariana DeBose, Martin Short, Dove Cameron, Jaime Camil, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Ann Harada, and Jane Krakowski. Newcomers Aaron Tveit and Tituss Burgess are welcome additions to the season two ensemble.
Co-Creator, Executive Producer, and Showrunner Cinco Paul was the first to arrive and he was quickly joined by his multi-talented cast. The FYC panel included stars Keegan-Michael Key, Cecily Strong, Dove Cameron (“Jenny Banks”), Jaime Camil (“Sergeant Rivera”), Jane Krakowski (“Bobbie Flanagan”), Aaron Tveit (“Topher”), and the scene-stealing Tituss Burgess who plays season two’s Narrator.
The series’ invaluable below the line talent were also in attendance, including Supervising Sound Editor Cormac Funge. “The second season introduces a new location which allows the sound crew to expand the world,” Funge says. “The first season was more rural and now we have cars, people, and darker elements mixed with jazz which we didn’t explore in year one.”
When it came to the series’ complex song and dance numbers, Funge expanded on his craft as a Sound Editor. “We wanted to add in the appropriate amount of sound effects without getting in the way of the music or lyrics,” Funge shares. “In the golden age of movie musicals there were no sounds effects, but here it needs to feel real and that these people are actually in front of you.”
Funge layers in the real sounds and takes special care to make sure the authenticity of sound has that human element. “When hands clap together or chairs hit the floor, we make sure the sounds are in time with the music, but they’re not not occurring at the same beat.. allowing for the human variance.”
For Cinematographer Jon Joffin, he was excited for the new era of season two. “When they brought me in and said that they wanted it to look darker and edgier, that always speaks to you as a cinematographer,” Joffin says. “I didn’t know much about technicolor before this, but I worked with a colorist and we came up with a look-up table and made it very technicolor and glossed it with a lot of lights and information.”
Technicolor with a nice rich contrast was Joffin’s aim and he more than succeeded with the episodes released so far from season two. Joffin worked with the Sony Venice 2 camera while filming the series. “It’s a rich camera with so much color space, and we used ice radiance lenses shot wide open to get the combination you see on screen.”
For newcomer Titus Burrell, he took to the narrator role. “I understood that as much as I was the narrator and center stage, it was not my story that I was telling,” Burrell said. “I was there to facilitate, shape, and craft the narrative.”
Burrell steals almost everey scene featuring the narrator with comedic facial expressions and inflections on the show’s well-written dialgoue. “I trust my instinct and my instrument, and it really combines so many of the things that I love,” says Burrell.
“I’m not as flashy as the characters I play, so for me, I hover on the softer moments of the series and there’s a moment in the finale that resonates with me and lives in my heart,” Burrell teases of the season two finale.
Jane Krakowski had just stopped crying after a heartfelt compliment was paid to her by another reporter. Krakowski was feeling very moved by the reunion with her cast as they reflected on the hard work that they put into the series’ second season. “I love Cinco’s humanity and how he infuses that into his work, and I’m so grateful we’re a part of bringing tha to life,” says Krakowski.
Krakowski received consistent praise from her cast mates for her fantastic musical number “Bells and Whistles,” which required the star to tackle the art of trapeze in addition to delivering a rousing vocal performance.
“I get asked to do slightly quirky projects and this is definitively on that wavelength in the best way, combining my history of musical theater and comedy,” shares Krakowski. “This season, we’ve gotten the word out and people are finding our merry troupe of performers and our reviews have been wonderful.”
“Because the majority of the cast has that musical theater background, we use as many live takes as possible in the show,” Krakowski says. “What’s great about the show is that each season the majority of the ensemble comes back as completely different characters, and that keeps things incredibly fresh for us.”
For series producer and leading lady Cecily Strong, she’s also noticing the larger audience tuning in for season two. “I’ve loved the series since the table read, so I have no idea what is driving everyone to the show,” Strong. “It’s a joy anytime we’re able to be together and everyone contributes such great work on the show.”
In season two, Strong’s character deals with fertility issues, which are underlined by her job in healthcare. Through a very effective montage, Strong’s character is constantly performing sonograms on pregnant mothers while she’s dealing with fact that she can’t conceive a child with Keegan-Michael Key’s character.
“In this fantastical world, we have these two leading characters that are very grounded and real with problems they’re facing through this fantasy world,” Strong shares. “This season, we’re highlighting the reality for a lot of couples with issues conceiving… I’m thirty-nine now and it is something you think about.”
“Schmigadoon!” is co-created by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, and produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group and Broadway Video. Paul serves as showrunner and wrote all of the original songs for the series. Lorne Michaels is executive producer. Andrew Singer executive produces on behalf of Broadway Video with Micah Frank as co-executive producer.
Since its debut, “Schmigadoon!” has earned global acclaim and accolades, including Emmy and AFI Award wins and a Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for star Kristin Chenoweth. Viewers can catch up on the complete first season of “Schmigadoon!,” now streaming on Apple TV+.