Interview: Jaime Camil Brings His Love for Musical Theatre to SCHMIGADOON!

Camil is a Mexican actor, singer and television personality best known for his roles as Fernando Mendiola in La Fea Más Bella and Rogelio de la Vega in Jane the Virgin.

By: Aug. 02, 2021
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Interview: Jaime Camil Brings His Love for Musical Theatre to SCHMIGADOON!

Last week, the world formally met Doc Lopez on Schmigadoon!

Lopez, the strict and old fashioned town doctor with a major romantic streak, is played by consummate star of stage and screen Jaime Camil.

Camil is a Mexican actor, singer and television personality best known for his roles as Fernando Mendiola in La Fea Más Bella and Rogelio de la Vega in Jane the Virgin, the latter of which brought him two nominations for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Onstage, Camil appeared in the Broadway production of Chicago and in the Hollywood Bowl production of Mamma Mia!

BroadwayWorld had the pleasure of speaking to Camil about building a musical theatre character for the screen, his own passion for the theatre, and Doc Lopez's contentious relationship with his too-amorous parents.

Read the full interview below!

I love you in this show. I'm a huge fan.

Thank you!

I was just wondering - there's so many stock musical theatre characters throughout Schmigadoon! Where do you think Doc Lopez fits? What musical theatre characters were you looking to for inspiration?

Well, not me personally, because I like to approach projects fresh, and I like to be a tool for the director, for the showrunner, for whatever they need. I don't like to be influenced by anything. But, of course, my character was based on The Sound of Music. Right? Obviously, that storyline!

No, but I like to arrive fresh! I don't like to watch or reference anything, because I think that it presents an obstacle in the creative process of creating a character.

Can you tell me about building a musical character for the screen?

Oh my god, it's incredible, right?! Well, first of all, the show is incredibly written. The songs are incredible - you don't have to be a theatre geek to get into the show. I was talking to a reporter that was like, "I've never seen a Broadway show in my life, man. And I love the show!" Now, first of all, you're dead to me. Watch a show! And second of all, it speaks volumes about the appeal of the show. If you like musical theatre, amazing. That's a bonus. But you don't have to!

The show is so well-written. It has such a beautiful storyline and all the characters are so well developed. The music is hilarious. Not only you don't have to be into the musical theatre world, but Keegan [Michael Key] makes fun of musicals all the time on the show. So I think that makes it very relevant. But I think it's beautiful - it has a lot of layers as well. I don't know if you've seen the whole series, but it's not only funny and has amazing choreography and amazing songs. It's just like, every Schmigadoonian represents a mirror on the challenges and obstacles that the real couple need to face in order to become better humans.

So, if you dig a little deeper into the show, it's not all fun and dance. It also has a lot of layers. And I love that about the show. But we shot it during COVID, so we had to adhere to the COVID protocols. We had very limited time on rehearsals - to answer your question of how it was to prepare for the musical. But I'm good! Ariana DeBose, for example - the lovely Ariana DeBose - her classroom musical number is beyond belief. My fellow castmates - maybe they struggled a little bit more, because their musical numbers were way more elaborate than mine.

I know you've done a lot of stage work. What's your history with musicals? Would you like to continue that history?

Definitely! It's what I like to do the most, where I feel the most alive, where my heart is the happiest - it's on a theatre stage. I love doing musicals.

In Mexico, I did West Side Story, El Diluvio que Viene, Aladdin, Peter Pan. Playing Hook, obviously, because I do not look good in green tights, I can tell you that! And here I was in an original Broadway show The Mambo Kings - we never got to open, unfortunately. But then I did Chicago, and then I did a little bit of Latinologues, and then I did Mamma Mia! at the Hollywood Bowl here in Los Angeles.

I'm always very happy and very alive and fulfilled when I am doing musical theatre. That's what I like to do the most.

If you could play any other role in Schmigadoon!, what role would you play?

Let me think! I don't know, because the Schmigadoonians are very defined! I don't know - I think that Ariana's story, Emma Tate's story, was a little bit better explained - the background of Emma Tate - than Doc Lopez. And I think that has to do with the fact that Schmigadoon was originally planned to have eight episodes, but then we decided to have six. It told the story better, it was more dynamic. But I think that the background of Doc Lopez got a little bit lost in translation with compressing the show to six episodes. So, I would have liked to show more about the background of Doc Lopez, just like we show the background of Emma Tate.

For sure. I do love his relationship with his parents. I think it's so fun.

[Laughs] Yes. I love it.

Well, they're very horny. So, I need to keep them in line.

Of course. Anybody would.


Hear Camil sing "Suddenly" with Ariana DeBose in the fourth episode of Schmigadoon here:

Photo Credit: Apple TV Plus