Leroy McClain (‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’) on crooner Shy Baldwin and his ‘gnawing loneliness from just not being able to live his whole truth’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

British-American actor and Broadway veteran Leroy McClain plays superstar crooner Shy Baldwin, who was introduced in Season 2 and is a stand-out in the third season of Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” He tells Gold Derby that he had less than a week to bone up on such similar singers of the era, primarily Johnny Mathis but also Nat King Cole, before he showed up on the set. Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“I went through a painstaking process watching as much of Johnny’s performances that I could find. Just as a springboard, trying to find a physical vocabulary for who Shy Baldwin would be.” But the show’s married creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, also wanted McClain to inject his own fresh and unique take on such a beloved entertainer — one who decided that stand-up comic Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) would be a great opening act for his next tour after they meet cute in a ladies room while appearing on a charity telethon.

SEE Emmys 2020 predictions slugfest: Will ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ retake the Comedy Series crown, or is something floating down ‘Schitt’s Creek’? [WATCH]

However, it may come as a surprise to some fans of the series that McClain didn’t do his own vocals. “When I got cast, I was initially a little hesitant when I got the appointment because I knew this guy isn’t supposed to be able to carry a tune. He’s got to be one of the best in the world. I can carry a tune but you’re not going to confused me with some of the best singers in the world. I didn’t really know what how they were going to make it work.”

He would learn that another Broadway regular, Darius de Haas, would be the one responsible for providing Shy’s silky vocal renditions. “We actually met at an audition back in 2008, 2009. Of course, I heard his name so much in the theater community in New York.”

SEE Amy Sherman-Palladino (‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’) says of stand-up comic, Midge: ‘She’s a streaming gal’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

When McClain went to a recording session, “That’s when I found out that it was Darius … it took all the anxiety away because Darius is such a generous human being and he literally allowed me to sit on a stool like a foot away from him.  He was laying down the track and literally I just stared at his face to see how his lips moved, how his face formed the notes he was hitting. I wanted to really get the lip-synching. I literally would sit and watch where he took his inhalation and marked those.” Basically, the actor made his own breathing script.

McClain goes on to talk about working with Sterling K. Brown, who plays Shy’s devoted manager Reggie, his favorite scene with Brosnahan and where the actor was when he learned that the Season 3 cast won the Screen Actors Guild’s comedy series ensemble award. He also gives some details about his upcoming big-screen movie “Respect,” a musical biopic starring Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin and his role as her manager brother Cecil that will open on Christmas Day.

PREDICT the 2020 Emmy nominees now; change through July 28

Be sure to make your Emmy nominations predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the nominees are announced on July 28. And join in the thrilling debate over the 2020 Emmy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s newsletter with experts’ latest predictions

More News from GoldDerby