Schmigadoon! fans have gotten used to seeing Jane Krakowski perform show-stopping numbers. Last season “I Always, Always, Never Get My Man” had her doing gymnastics in a car. In Season 2’s third episode, she gives the old razzle dazzle in the courtroom in “Bells & Whistles” — a number so good, they made it the episode’s title.
Krakowski told TV Insider all that went into the creation of the show-stopping number, which manages to fit references to several songs from Chicago and a nod to Stephen Sondheim‘s Company. The number opens with the Schmicago lawyer descending into the courtroom on a trapeze swing. That was to be the only trapeze act, but the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt alum tells us she requested more.
“I just was so excited when I saw that that was my number. The first thing it says is that she comes down from the ceiling on a trapeze, and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, great. I’m signing on,’” she says. “She was supposed to just get off the trapeze, and I remember having a talk with Cinco [Paul, the show’s co-creator and composer], and I was like, ‘Do you think if I learned some stuff on the trapeze, I could stay on it longer and do a few more tricks or whatever I could pick up?’ So I went to trapeze school and I learned whatever I could before my day of filming came up and got to throw in a few more bells and whistles on the trapeze.”
Krakowski played a key role in the references made through the choreography, which includes a white “not guilty” scarf pulled out of Josh’s (Keegan-Michael Key‘s) mouth and the blindfolded Lady Justice in homage to the Oscar-winning Chicago movie musical. But it also pulls from the dance stylings of legendary Broadway performers.
“The day was really special for me. We film the musical numbers in a day or half a day. They go pretty quickly,” she says. “And so, first getting to work with [choreographer] Chris Catelli in the rehearsal hall is one of the highlights for me. He’s so smart and so clever. And we wanted to come up with as many steps that we could that were on homage to the women that starred in those musicals at the time, like Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera. We wanted to throw a little Chorus Line in there, so any of those references that we could pull that we wanted, that we could put into the number, we tried. And they’re all purposeful.”
“I love that the show lives on that plane where we can do that,” Krakowski continues. “And it just was one of those days where I felt like the whole cast and crew saw what we were trying to achieve in the small amount of time that we had, and everybody just stepped up and wanted to try to make the best product. It was really one of the great days I’ve had filming, and I’m so thankful to everybody in the cast and crew that really pulled together to try to get every shot that we possibly could to make ‘Bells & Whistles’ happen.”
Should Schmigadoon! get more seasons, Krakowski says she’s all in for another solo showstopper.
“For sure I would be signed on if we are lucky enough to get a Season 3,” she shares. “I love being one of Cinco’s merry players. I love that we all get to switch roles each season. That’s a real gift that you don’t get very often.”
Her ideas for the possible third season’s theme: “Schmondheim — an all-Sondheim show,” “Schment,” or “Schpring Awakening.”
Schmigadoon!, Wednesdays, Apple TV+