“I thought that must be from an earlier season,” remembers Robin Urdang about seeing her name as a 2022 Emmy Award nominee. The music supervisor on the Amazon Prime comedy series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was looking to see if her colleagues Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore earned a nomination for their original music and lyrics when she came across her own citation, which came as a surprise to her, and she feels “thrilled and grateful” for the recognition. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
As music supervisor, Urdang collaborates closely with series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino on the song choices for each episode, as well as the show’s songwriters, music editor, music producers and others. The fourth season went into production during the pandemic, which impacted some of her process. While she “missed terribly” going to set, she found it beneficial to work on recording sessions remotely, because she says she was “really hearing things that people in the studio may not hear.”
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From the fourth season, Urdang fondly recalls working on episode “How to Chew Quietly and Influence People,” most of which occurred at the wedding of crooner Shy Baldwin (LeRoy McClain). She highlights the episode’s “amazing amount of music,” including the series’ Emmy-nominated Mizer and Moore song “Maybe Monica.” The music supervisor also emphasizes some of the less obvious work she did, like recording American pop songs in Mandarin that play on the jukebox of Joel Maisel’s (Michael Zegen) Chinatown club.
Urdang received her Emmy nomination this year for the eventful fourth season finale, “How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?.” The installment features a beautifully shot and complex sequence at the burlesque club where series protagonist Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) has been emceeing. For the extended and stylized dance and performance, she looked deep into musical theatre history and found the song “Femininity” from the Tony-nominated show “Oh Captain!.” “We didn’t want something known,” comments the music supervisor, adding that she and Sherman-Palladino wanted “something funny, something catchy, something sexy.” The episode also uses the song “Matchmaker” from the iconic musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” but the team uniquely combined Yiddish and English versions of the song and recorded a midsection to stitch the two together.
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The finale also boasts perhaps one of the most anticipated scenes of the entire series, in which Midge and Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) sleep together for the first time. For this pivotal moment, Urdang opted for the classic song “Someone to Watch Over Me,” but selected the recording by artist Blossom Dearie. “We love Blossom Dearie, her girlish voice, her fun arrangement. We’ve used her throughout the series and she was a Jewish jazz singer,” explains the music supervisor as to why this lesser-known rendition of the work fit perfectly. She thinks the song has a “warmth and tenderness about it” that matched the scene, emphasizing its “comforting female vocal.”
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” will conclude with its upcoming fifth season. Urdang teases that she has “some music that I’m going to try to get in that maybe we’ve tried before” but never quite fit, adding that they will also have some new original songs, too. For her work on “Maisel” spanning all four seasons, the music supervisor has earned Emmy nominations every year, winning for the first three in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
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