‘Schmigadoon!’ production designer Bo Welch on making the town ‘beautiful enough that you want to be there’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“Schmigadoon!” is an homage to musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, and it’s the first musical for veteran production designer Bo Welch, but “I hope it’s not my last because I loved it,” he says of the experience, for which he earned an Emmy nomination for Best Production Design for a Half-Hour Narrative Program for the premiere episode. We talked to Welch as part of our “Meet the Expertspanel of Emmy-nominated production designers. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

The Apple TV+ comedy series follows a couple (Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong) at a crossroads in their relationship when they stumble on the title town where the townsfolk spontaneously break into song. “I had a very sort of shallow understanding of the musicals of the ’40a and ’50s,” Welch admits, “but our showrunner Cinco Paul … was kind enough to send links to all of the relevant musicals. So I spent days just watching musicals, and it gave me a newfound appreciation and a much deeper understanding of their appeal.”

“The trickiest part” of the design was achieving the right balance where “it’s beautiful enough that you want to be there, but it’s artificial enough that it is reminiscent of these ’40s and ’50s musicals … And I think we landed in a good spot where it had artificiality, but you still by virtue of building it and putting these incredibly talented performers in it, you buy it.” As a result, “there’s a sense of joy that is contagious throughout all six episodes. I think I watched it as a fan, not just the production designer. I absolutely love this material and would watch it with a smile plastered on my face every Friday when it dropped.”

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