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Schimigadoon’s Stars Dove Cameron & Aaron Tveit On Its Queer Roots

‘Schimigadoon’s Stars Dove Cameron & Aaron Tveit On Its Queer Roots

Dove Cameron and Aaron Tveit
Courtesy of Apple TV+

PRIDE sat down with the season two stars about the legacy of Cabaret and their intimate duet.

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Forget Schmigadoon, this time around it’s all about Schmicago! The second season of the hit musical series returns this week, and with it it ushers in a new era of musical influences with a darker, queerer tone.

Yes, Chicago is a major influence, but so too is Cabaret with its queer bona fides and sadly very timely themes of political fanaticism and rising tides of fascism. There’s a reason it holds such a special place in the hearts of theater queers everywhere. Including Dove Cameron, whose introductory number homages the musical.

Dove Cameron in Schmigadoon

Courtesy of Apple TV+

“I actually was first exposed to Cabaret, I believe, when one of my peers in my small town theater showed me [Schimgadoon co-star Alan Cumming’s] performance at the Tonys,” recalls Cameron to PRIDE. “They were like, ‘Look at this creature.’ And I was like, ‘That is who I want to be.’”

Watch PRIDE’s full interview with Dove Cameron and Aaron Tveit below.

For Cameron, it was an early example of how queerness opens up a world of possibility. “I think that this [is an] interesting example of the boundary-pushing in terms of sexual expression, gender expression in Cabaret — and in the worlds in which we’re celebrating. Like the underground community and all of these things in Cabaret that were so new at the time and in musical form was very exciting then, and it’s exciting now,” says Cameron.

And its continued relevance is undeniable. “Not only in the political messaging but also in the representation in Cabaret, we don’t see that as much as I think we might have hoped then when it was being written, we would see it now,” she says “So, I was very excited — and Sally Bowles is one of my all-time favorite musical theater heroines.”

Dove Cameron in Schmigadoon

Courtesy of Apple TV+

If Cameron’s “Jenny Banks” is hailing from a darker era of musicals, her potential paramour “Topher,” played by Aaron Tveit, is bringing a much sunnier and hopeful vibe to the proceedings, with a Hair-inspired character.

“I think Topher starts, as somebody who has a very good purpose and a wonderful goal to bring enlightenment and happiness to the masses, on a macro level, but maybe the internal micro happiness is the thing that he’s really not in touch with,” Tveit tells PRIDE.

Aaron Tveit in Schmigadoon

Courtesy of Apple TV+

That kind of internal life and ambition is yet another way in which this season’s approach to its characters has grown since season one “I think what’s wonderful about this season is our characters don’t only exist as this kind of one-dimensional things for Josh and Melissa [Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong’s characters], we get to go on our own journeys as well,” says Tveit.

The interweaving stories between these characters become an essential part of the story, this time around. As a result, both rivalries and romantic entanglements come to the fore — including the instant sparks that fly when Jenny and Topher cross paths.

“I thought it was wonderful that when Topher and Jenny meet, they kind of bring out the true version of themselves in meeting the other person. I get to have this wonderful arc where I start off trying to kind of make the world happy, and everything a better place. But then by the end, I find kind of my own inner happiness by accepting who I really am,” he shares.

The cast of  Schmigadoon

Courtesy of Apple TV+

This leads to one of the most heartfelt and intimate duets of the season, and proved to be both of the stars’ favorite moments in filming the new season.

“The number’s just really simple. So many of these numbers are kind of so big and flashy and showy. And those are really, really fun to do, obviously. But when [get to] shift the lens in and be really small and intimate. It’s just like a really beautiful, simple way to work. And we had a really nice time doing it,” recalls Tveit.

“I think there’s something really potent about intimate duets like it,” adds Cameron. “They’re just staring at each other, it’s so simple. And for that reason, it’s so powerful. And I think when we realized that we were gonna have the opportunity to just sit and sing at each other for two and a half minutes, it was really nice.”

Schmigadoon season two premieres on Apple TV+ April 5. Watch the trailer below.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.