Schmigadoon! is what happens when you’re making plans to watch Ted Lasso on Apple TV+. And, ding-dang those turkeys at Apple, they’re tryin’ to steal my heart. Even if you’re not into all the Broadway references and musical homages, Schmigadoon! is great ensemble comedy. Heck, even the main characters, played by Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key, are a bit vexed by all the singing (especially Keegan).
The premise is similar to the 1947 Lerner & Loewe musical Brigadoon, in which two American tourists stumble upon a mysterious Scottish village. Here, backpacking couple Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) stumble upon Schmigadoon, a mysterious village that looks a lot like River City from The Music Man. Also like Brigadoon, the story hinges on discovering true love.
My wife and I love musical theater, so I dig that the townsfolk in Schmigadoon express themselves in the choreographed style of mid-20th century musicals like Carousel, Oklahoma and The Sound of Music. The thing is, Melissa and Josh went on this trip to save their relationship and, according to a leprechaun, they can’t leave until they’ve found true love. The rest is comedy gold.
Allow me to tease you, like Betsy the farmer’s daughter, with three of my favorite Schmigadoon! numbers:
from Episode 1
After being harassed by the fundamentalist preacher’s wife, Josh and Melissa end up having an argument that calls into question whether their love is “true.” But the perky townsfolk have a special brunch planned for the couple to cheer them up.
“Enjoy the Ride”
from Episode 2
Cecily Strong pretty much owns this entire production (after all she gets a producer credit). In this scene, Strong shows off her pipes and her moves in a duet with Aaron Tveit. Melissa’s lover’s spat with Josh (and some “gentleman’s punch”) has led her into the arms of Danny, the Carousel-inspired carnival barker. Yee-honk!
from Episode 4
Melissa winds up taking a job as a nurse to Dr. Lopez, a domineering patriarch who Melissa disagrees with on everything. Doc Lopez has refused to treat a pregnant young woman whose child was conceived out of wedlock. Shocked, Melissa secretly treats the woman and takes the opportunity to teach the young couple about the reproductive system, to the tune of “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music.
Bonus Tune! “With All of Your Heart”
from Episode 4
All right, if you insist. This earnest entreaty to try your best, features Ariana DeBose, who played The Bullet in the original cast of Hamilton, and some sweet mugging from Keegan.
The six episodes of Schmigadoon! are now streaming on Apple TV+