Aaron Tveit knows the hard work it takes to get on stage and put on a performance.
He’s been doing it on Broadway since his debut in 2006.
Still, the Tony Award nominee found himself in uncharted territory when he joined the cast of “Schmigadoon!”
The six-part series is a parody of iconic musicals starring Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key as a couple on a backpacking trip designed to reinvigorate their relationship when they discover a magical city everyone lives in. a 1940s music studio.. They then discover that they cannot leave until they find “true love”.
The cast also includes Jaime Camil, Fred Armisen, Kristin Chenoweth, Dove Cameron, Ariana DeBose, Jane Krakowski, Alan Cumming and Ann Harada. The six-part series premieres Friday, July 16 on Apple TV +.
“We were all together, I think to make the finale, but we had a day before we were in pre-production where the whole cast got together,” he says. “We read all six episodes in one afternoon. It was spectacular because without it you wouldn’t even be able to see what the others were doing. The fact that we had this experience together really set the bar high. I walked away thinking, ‘Oh wow, I thought I was prepared. But I have to be adapted to the level that everyone brings to it.
In the series, Tveit plays Danny Bailey, who is the town’s outcast. He works for the carnival and is left alone most of the time until he meets Strong’s character, Melissa.
The series pays homage to legendary musicals such as “Carousel”, of which Tveit is a fan.
“I can live out all my Billy Bigelow ‘Carousel’ dreams as Danny Bailey,” he says. “There are all these influences. He’s a character I’ve always wanted to play, so it was a big thrill for me.
The challenge for Tveit was the dance required for the role. The series was choreographed by Christopher Gattelli.
“He spent a lot of time with me one-on-one,” he says. “He really had specific references to this Gene Kelly singer and dancer. He wanted Danny to be him in some way. Danny is a rough, tumbling guy, but then he can get into song and dance, which I think is also interesting. The dance element was the only thing I found myself really practicing and practicing. I wanted to make sure I was totally ready for it when I set foot on the set. Worrying about the steps helped me not to worry too much about the vocals.
Tveit has performed on stage and on screen all his life. He appeared in “Moulin Rouge! and is the only actor nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor this year.
With “Schmigadoon! He hopes viewers will enjoy the feel and tone of the show.
With in-person performances not happening for over a year, he hopes there will be some joy in the series.
“It’s about celebrating life,” he says. “After the difficult 15 months we have lived, I hope that the joy of success will come. I hope he crosses the screen to people’s living rooms.
Tveit says there are also real messages from all the characters.
“There’s this very one-dimensional kind of old tropes of musical theater,” he says. “But they are changed by these two contemporary people whom they meet and change for the better. The show has representation and inclusion.
Tveit is no stranger to New Mexico as he has toured here with Broadway shows and shot the movie “Big Sky” in the area in 2015.
“I love New Mexico and hope to go back someday,” he says.