By Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Musical lovers, old and new will rejoice with the new Musical Comedy from Apple TV, Schmigadoon! Audiences will fall in love with the magic of the ’40s and ’50s again through reinterpreted classics and parodies on the shows that brought so much love and joy to their hearts. Schmigadoon! is one for the books, that will leave audiences with that underlying sense of happiness and joy.
The Series focuses on the couple of Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (Cecily Strong) as their relationship is unfortunately on the rocks, and they stumble across a bridge called Schmigadoon while hiking on their couples retreat. As they cross the bridge everything turns from bleak to vibrant life, and full of colour and dropped into a different time. Cue the first big musical number with our Principal Cast. After the first musical number, we start to meet some of the members of Schmigadoon, Reverend Layton (Fred Armisen) who is under the thumb of his rather hostile wife, Mildred (Kristen Chenoweth). Then all chaos seems to break out.
There are two stories that are the focal point of the Show, the first being that Josh and Melissa need to work on their relationship and figure out if they can work. This is another serious issue, because to escape Schmigadoon, and return to reality, they can only do so by crossing the bridge with their loved one. The second story is that within the town of Schmigadoon, where there is conflict between the very aggressive, wretched Mildred and the rest of the town specifically against Mayor Menlove (Alan Cumming). There are several characters that pose at obstacles to either the townspeople of Schmigadoon now that Josh and Melissa are new forces they have to contend with, or for Josh and Melissa themselves, with possible love interests appearing Betsy (Dove Cameron), Emma (Ariana DeBose), Danny (Aaron Tveit), and Doc Lopez (Jamie Camil). With Josh and Melissa’s relationship already on the rocks, being transported to a new world that Josh simply hates and Melissa is falling in love with their rocky relationship and possible faster way home seems to be fading.
What makes Schmigadoon! so great is how meta it is. It makes fun of itself, with Josh constantly calling out the musical nuisances and songs with modern takes. The music itself though is what shines throughout the Series, as they’re changing songs from mainly Rodgers and Hammerstein with the towns problems. However, even with a great premise and incredible music, it would fall short if the cast was unable to deliver. The chemistry between Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong just glows, audiences can sense that dwindling flame between them but knowing it came from a candle that burned at both sides previously, they are believable as a couple whose going through a rough patch. Then you have the Broadway royalty between Alan Cumming, Aaron Tviet, Kristen Chenoweth, and the explosive Ariana DeBose who all shine and dazzle with their performances, whether they be playing ecstatic over the top closeted mayors, outcast and misunderstood, someone truly evil, or someone who just wants best for themselves, they all shine and excel in their performances bringing life and depth to Schmigadoon!
Everyone gives their all in these performances, ensuring that Schmigadoon! succeeds as a Musical Comedy that appeals both to fans of Broadway and Comedy.
SCHMIGADOON! arrives on Apple TV+ on Friday July 16th, 2021 with episodes airing following Fridays!