Interview: Jane Krakowski Unpacks Her Jazzy SCHMIGADOON! Number, Performed Entirely in a Tiny Car

This week on Schmigadoon!, audiences finally met The Countess Gabrielle von Blerkem — "Blerky" for short.

By: Aug. 06, 2021
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Interview: Jane Krakowski Unpacks Her Jazzy SCHMIGADOON! Number, Performed Entirely in a Tiny Car

This week on Schmigadoon!, audiences finally met The Countess Gabrielle von Blerkem - "Blerky" for short - played by the legendary musical comedy actress Jane Krakowski.

In just one episode, we go on such a journey with Blerky - one Krakowski was eager to discuss.

BroadwayWorld had the pleasure of speaking to Krakowski about her performance, which falls in line with her many other satirical roles that demand to be taken seriously. We also talked about the Baroness Elsa Schraeder, Kiss Me Kate, and doing gymnastics in a car.

Read the full interview - and see a clip from today's episode - below!

Jane is most commonly known for her role as Jenna Maroney on NBC's Emmy Award-winning "30 Rock". Krakowski was honored with four Emmy nominations for her work on the show, as well as a collective 2009 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, along with additional nominations in that category in 2013 and 2014.

Jane received the 2003 Tony Award for her portrayal of Carla in the Broadway musical Nine, opposite Antonio Banderas. Her performance in Nine also earned her a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. She earned her first Tony nomination for her work in the original Broadway production of Grand Hotel. Other Broadway credits include She Loves Me, Company, Once Upon a Mattress, Tartuffe, and Starlight Express.

The first two episodes of "Schmigadoon!" premiered globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, July 16. The series continues with one new episode weekly, every Friday through August 13.

A parody of iconic Golden Age musicals, "Schmigadoon!" stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key as a couple on a backpacking trip designed to reinvigorate their relationship who discover a magical town living in a 1940s musical. They then learn that they can't leave until they find "true love." The six-episode season also stars Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Aaron Tveit, Dove Cameron, Ariana DeBose, Fred Armisen, Jaime Camil, Jane Krakowski and Ann Harada. Martin Short guest stars.

Photo Credit: Apple TV

I just wanted to start out by saying I absolutely adored your performance in this show. You're taking a lot of cues from Baroness Elsa Schraeder [from Sound of Music] here, but I was wondering if you were thinking about any other musical theatre stock characters while building the performance?

That's a great question. Well, obviously, all the characters are very reminiscent of characters from all those great, golden age musicals. The Countess is based on The Baroness, as she is a fancy Countess who comes in from the city and finds that the doctor has taken up with Melissa. I definitely pulled on the Baroness from The Sound of Music.

What I thought was interesting is that the wonderful number that Cinco Paul wrote for me I feel is more from Kiss Me Kate. So, the worlds all mesh. It becomes, to me, a celebration of many of those types of women from those musicals.

And for me, I was thrilled to get to work with Chris Gattelli and come up with inventive choreography that we could do in a very, very tiny car. For me to get in as many of my gymnastics and stunts I like to do in musicals and musical numbers in the context of a very tiny convertible. He wrote me a wonderful eleven-o-clock number that came in at the end of his very loving series.

There's a line you say in episode five that reveals something very serious but also very hilarious about the character. In everything you've ever done, I love how you're so adept at playing satire and keeping it so grounded. I was wondering how you approach a comedic role that also demands to be taken seriously.

That's so interesting - thank you for the compliments in there.

I think I approach all of my characters seriously, and with great empathy. No matter who they are or what they're about. I tend to like to play - it's a hard question for me, because I love every character that I get to play. My love for the character comes through, whether they're good, bad, indifferent, narcissistic, terrible, loving. All of those things. Because I love them from the inside out.

I hope that reflects in people's appreciation or enjoyment, simply, of the character when they are watching them.

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

Oh! Maybe Josh or Melissa, I guess! Because the sensibility and their sense of humor really appeal to me. And I think once you get to the town of Schmigadoon, it doesn't really work if you don't have the Josh and the Melissa in the modern day times. So, yeah. I guess I'd play one of them.

I find it so humorous how Keegan's Josh is the voice of, really, maybe, a lot of people who are like, wow, are they gonna sing again? Why are they singing? Why can't they just answer the question? Or, why are we stuck in a musical theatre land? Is this for tourists? Can we get out? We didn't sign up for this!

That whole aspect of the sense of humor in the writing really appealed to me. And it sort of balanced out - it's not a straightforward musical, obviously. And I love doing those in the theatre and on Broadway. But this was special to me because of the counterpoint of Josh and Melissa's feelings about it. And coming from the modern day world.

Watch a clip from episode five of Schmigadoon! here: