“I didn’t want to go back to Schmigadoon, as much as I love Schmigadoon,” the show’s co-creator, writer said at Deadline’s Contenders Television awards-season event. “The idea was always that if we got another season, I wanted to go into the ’60s and ’70s musicals. As much as I love Rodgers and Hammerstein, these are the musicals I’m passionate about — Sweeney and Pippin and Chicago. It’s just a great contrast to the first season, right? Where it’s darker, it’s sexier, it’s grittier, it’s scarier in every way.”
The show co-created by Ken Daurio, in its first season, introduced viewers to Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key), a pair of New York doctors grappling with relationship issues. While on a backpacking trip, they come upon a magical town called Schmigadoon that’s forever trapped in a musical of a bygone era, finding that they won’t be able to leave until they find true love. Season 2 picks up after the pair have done so and charts their experiences in Schmicago, a reimagined world of ’60s and ’70s musicals.
In an panel alongside Paul and fellow cast members Tituss Burgess, Kristin Chenoweth and Jane Krakowski, Key noted that the show is also grappling with more dramatic real-life issues, just as its musical numbers darken — among them, Melissa and Josh’s struggle to conceive a child. “They come back from Schmigadoon and they’re on this amazing high … and then life starts to come back in again. Having trouble having the baby is one thing. And what is happiness?” said the actor. “They thought they had achieved happiness, and now they don’t really know what’s going on. Everything’s kind of faded. So, it’s a bit of a crisis for them, and it’s really serious.”
Paul noted that producing Season 2 was “a little nuts,” given the ramping up of musical numbers from 20-something in the first installment to 36 this time around. But he noted, at the same time, that working on the show has been “a dream come true” — an experience he’d consider extending by taking Schmigadoon! to Broadway. “I say it all the time, but I mean it every single time. I would work with these people for the rest of my life, making stuff,” he said. “So, would love that.”
Returning for its second season earlier this month, Schmigadoon! is produced by Broadway Video as well as Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group. Paul serves as showrunner and writes all of the show’s original songs, with Lorne Michaels and Andrew Singer exec producing for Broadway Video, and Micah Frank serving as co-EP.
Check back Tuesday for the panel video.
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