Who Choreographed ‘Schmigadoon!’?

Schmigadoon! is the latest in the Apple TV+ lineup of original shows. The delightful parody of classic musicals has enchanted audiences with its deep-cut genre jokes, amazing ensemble cast, and jaw-dropping dance numbers. As one would expect from a show of this nature, that last point is what’s left the biggest impression on people. That’s why many are asking: Who is the genius that choreographed Schmigadoon!? Keep reading to learn more about the man behind the music (well, the dancing part of it).

What is ‘Schmigadoon!’ about?

Kristin Chenoweth scowls at 'Schmigadoon!' suitors
Mildred (Kristin Chenoweth) scowls at ‘Schmigadoon!’ suitors. | Apple TV+

Schmigadoon! is a musical comedy series created by the duo of Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. The show follows Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (Cecily Strong), a pair of doctors with a rapidly deteriorating romantic relationship. While on a trip, the two lose their way and eventually uncover the town of Schmigadoon, a magical place themed around 40s and 50s musicals. With the town’s influence affecting them to join its residents in elaborate song-and-dance numbers, they soon realize that the only way to escape is to find true love.

Who choreographed the dancing in ‘Schmigadoon!’?

For a show based around musicals, especially those of the Golden Age, Schmigadoon! had to pack a punch in that area. Luckily, the series has put its best foot forward, followed by several more in its authentically retro dance numbers. While the songs of the show are written primarily by creator Cinco Paul, the choreography for them is created by Christopher Gattelli.

Gattelli did the choreography for every dance in all six episodes of the show. He took great pains to honor the history of screen musicals while also doing something fun and original with the premise. Among the classics referenced in the show (many of them spotted by Dance Spirit) are The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Oklahoma!, and, of course, Brigadoon, which inspired the show’s name.

The show’s choreographer has done other impressive work

This isn’t Gattelli’s first rodeo, as he’s choreographed for many other productions other than Schmigadoon! for years now. On TV, he was the resident choreographer on The Rosie O’Donnell Show while it was on the air. The bulk of his work, however, can be seen in theater.

In 2006, he did choreography for the Broadway plays Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me and High Fidelity, following them up with The Ritz in 2007 and Sunday in the Park with George in 2008. He also worked on the 2008 production of South Pacific that ran until 2010 — which got him nominated for a Tony. However, he wouldn’t win this award until his work on Disney’s version of Newsies in 2012, which also snagged him an Outer Critics Circle Award.

Most recently, Gattelli did choreography for the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar!, as well as the revival of The King and I and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical. He’s also pulling double duty on a production of Top Hat, working as both director and choreographer, though this project isn’t slated to hit the stage for a good while.

Beyond just choreography, Gattelli has even performed in a few productions. Most famously, he was associated with several productions of the musical Cats. His first role was as Mistoffelees in the 1993 U.S. tour for the show, then later as a Pouncival in Broadway productions in 1996 all the way up to 2000. He would occasionally retake the mantle of Mistoffelees during the Broadway years, as well. His latest role was as a dancer in the 2019 production of Isn’t It Romantic, another musical he also did choreography for.

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