Every Song Parody and Musical Theater Reference in 'Schmicago' Could "Drive a Person Crazy"
Here’s our running list of all the songs parodied in ‘Schmigadoon!’ Season 2 aka 'Schmicago,' as well as all the musical theater easter eggs.
Spoiler alert: This article contains minor spoilers for Episode 6 of Schmigadoon! Season 2.
For those who loved Season 1 of Schmigadoon!, the second season of the Apple TV Plus show is going to shock you in the best way possible. It draws its inspiration from the biggest musicals of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s with nods to Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Kander and Ebb, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, and many more composers and choreographers.
Even to folks who aren’t the biggest musical theater fans, it’s clear that Schmigadoon! Season 2 is a nod to Chicago, but there are musical theater easter eggs littered throughout the series. Plus, like Season 1, every song has a very clear inspiration directly from a musical. So, we’ve put together a running list of all the songs parodied and musical theater easter eggs in Schmigadoon! Season 2.
Episode 1, “Welcome to Schmicago”
- “Welcome to Schmicago” — A direct parody of “Magic to Do” from Pippin, with floating hands in white gloves and Tituss Burgess as a haunting Leading Player
- “Do We Shock You?” — Musically a parody of “Big Spender” from Sweet Charity with choreography inspiration from Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango"
- “We’re Kaput” — A clear nod to “Mein Herr” from Cabaret, performed by Dove Cameron’s Jenny Banks, a reference to Sally Bowles
Here are some other easter eggs from Episode 1 you may have missed!
Before they get to Schmicago, Josh and Melissa are searching for what they want in the woods. A sneaky melody in the background hints that their objective — trying to have a baby without much luck — is a direct nod to the Baker and Baker’s Wife in Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
Alan Cumming is no longer the jovial mayor of Schmigadoon but seems to be a total replica of Sweeney Todd. Is Kristin Chenoweth his Mrs. Lovett? “God, That’s a Good” prediction.
A pan to a group of orphans in the opening number makes us hope that “the sun’ll come out tomorrow.” Yes, those are pretty much the Annie orphans.
Melissa tells Josh, “Don’t piss off the narrator.” Almost every musical with a narrator-type character in the ‘70s and ‘80s ends with the narrator turning on its characters … Pippin, Into the Woods, Cabaret, you name it.
The “Kratt Club” is a reference to Cabaret’s Kit Kat Club, with Cabaret’s influence on the season perhaps even bigger than Chicago’s.
- Emcee Ariana DeBose introduces us to the Kratt girls, whose names are the same as the orphans' names from Annie. (Except for Elsie, whose name is a reference to a line from a song in Cabaret.)
- A couple of Rastafarians wave to Josh and Melissa — are those Schmicago’s Thernadiers from Les Miserables?
- A woman who resembles Joanne from Company repeatedly says "I'll drink to that" throughout the series. This is a line from "Ladies Who Lunch."
- Speaking of Les Miserables, Jaime Camil’s Sergeant Rivera bears a lot of similarities to the evil Javert.
- The evilest character seems to be Octavius Kratt, played by the series’ newcomer Patrick Page, who is likely based on Sweeney Todd’s Judge Turpin.
- But who isn't that evil? Ann Harada's Madame Frau is a clear reference to Cabaret's Fraüline Schneider.
- Elsie, who dies, shares her name with the cow from Into the Woods.
Episode 2, “Bustin’ Out”
- “Doorway to Where” — A clear parody of “Corner of the Sky” from Pippin (Side note: how has Aaron Tveit never played Pippin?)
- “I Need to Eat” — A hilarious take on A Chorus Line’s “God I Hope I Get It” with references to “At the Ballet” and “The Music and the Mirror”
- “Bustin’ Out” — The showstopping rendition of Company’s “You Could Drive a Person Crazy”
And here are some easter eggs from Episode 2 you may not have noticed!
Aaron Tveit’s Topher seems like he stepped out of Hair, the musical. But when he “believes” in all the prisoners, he also takes on some Jesus-like qualities from Godspell.
Jane Krakowski plays Bobbie Flanagan, the city’s hotshot lawyer, seemingly based on Chicago’s Billy Flynn with a bit of Roxie Hart. But her office monologue in which she speaks over the music and says, “After a while, I caught on,” is a hint to Val’s pre-Dance: Ten, Looks: Three monologue in A Chorus Line.
- The choreography in “I Need to Eat” is almost identical to A Chorus Line’s original choreography, complete with the headshots at the end.
- As the prisoners say “Here comes Bobby” and “Help us, Bobby,” we can’t help but draw a comparison to Company's Bobby-ness.
- When “jazz is to blame” for the murder, Chicago's “All That Jazz” comes to mind as the inspiration for a jazz-infused murder.
- 17 Quick Street seems like a dangerous place, probably because it could be akin to Sweeney Todd’s Fleet Street.
Episode 3, “Bells and Whistles"
- "Everyone's Gotta Get Naked" — The gibberish makes it obvious that this song is "Good Morning Starshine" from Hair.
- "The Worst Brats in Town" — This song is almost a note-for-note parody of Sweeney Todd's "The Worst Pies in London." The reprise parodies the reprise in Sweeney Todd.
- "The Butcher and His Wife" — Alan Cumming sings his version of Sweeney Todd's "The Barber and His Wife" combined with "Epiphany," vowing to "kill them all."
- "Bells and Whistles" — This one is "Dance: Ten, Looks: Three" aka "Tits and Ass" from A Chorus Line, combined with "Dancing Around the Witness" from Chicago.
- Octavius Kratt's Song — His haunting, yet hilarious, ballad is a mockery of Judge Turpin's "Johanna" in Sweeney Todd and a parody of Jesus Christ Superstar's "This Jesus Must Die."
And here are some easter eggs from Episode 3 you could have missed!
- In the episode's opening moments, we see shops named Sondheim's, Schwartz Happy Family Portraits, Herman's Hummable Tunes, and Ebb & Co Apothecary. These are all homages to composers Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Jerry Herman, and Fred Ebb (of Kander and Ebb).
- Josh literally gains "hair" as a reference to the musical Hair.
- The characters sing "Rizzo, Cha-Cha, Doody, Zuko, and Kenickie" as gibberish in "Everyone's Gotta Get Naked," several of the characters in Grease. Also, the song's theme is a nod to the fact that everyone in the cast of Hair gets fully naked at the end of Act I.
- Miss Codwell's Home for Unwanted Orphans is Schmicago's Hudson Street Orphanage from Annie.
- Miss Codwell is infatuated with Dooley Blight, similar to how Mrs. Lovett loves Sweeney Todd.
- Topher leads his group of hippies through parables, specifically one about "the lamb without a flock." This parodies the parable device used throughout Godspell.
- Blight names his cleaver the Justice Cleaver, making it one of his friends, like Sweeney Todd's song about his razors, "My Friends."
- Octavius Kratt self-flagellates during his episode-ending number, just like Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd.
Episode 4, “Something Real"
- Narrator's Song - Tituss's opening song in this episode has notes of Pippin's "On the Right Track." It's not quite there, so we're hoping this means that the entr'acte opener is slowly coming into the fold.
- "I'm Done" - He's frustrated with his disciples, so Topher's mini-song of calling it quits is giving off Jesus Christ Superstar vibes during the beginnings of Jesus recognizing his betrayal in The Last Supper.
- "Talk to Daddy" - The first of two big show-stoppers, this is an apparent reference to Sweet Charity's "Rhythm of Life" and "The Rich Man's Frug."
- "Something Real" - A beautiful contemporary-sounding duet between Dove Cameron and Aaron Tveit, this song mimics "Love Song" from Pippin.
- "Have You Any Ham" - We've waited our entire lives for an Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth duet; this one exceeds expectations. It's a hilarious take on Sweeney Todd's "Have a Little Priest."
- "Are You Good Enough to Eat?" - The dark duet morphs into an impressive full ensemble orphan-centric number. This seems to mostly reference "Food Glorious Food" from Oliver, with bits of "I'd Do Anything" (also from Oliver) and Annie's "Never Fully Dressed" and "Hard Knock Life."
And here are some easter eggs from Episode 4 you may not have caught!
- Josh and Melissa think they've found their happy ending, but there's a whole other half of the series left! This is just like Sondheim's Into the Woods, in which the first act does have a happy ending, but Act II shows that "Happily Ever After" doesn't exist.
- In "Talk to Daddy," the ensemble repeats "mutter" and ends that bit with "father," which could be a Fiddler on the Roof reference.
- The Kander Absinthe Café is a nod to composer John Kander (of Kander and Ebb).
- Melissa's outfit, the orange coat and white hat, is a reference to Barbra Streisand's outfit in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
- The umbrellas that Josh and Melissa jaunt underneath may be an homage to the 1964 musical romantic film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
- There are so many Sweeney references beyond the songs and the characters. Referring to the orphans as "vermin" and Dooley saying that "life is a pile of s--t" drum up Sweeney's lyrics in "No Place Like London."
- Miss Codwell sings, "Ain't got no ... " for a couple of verses, a reference to Hair's "Ain't Got No."
Episode 5, “Famous As Hell"
- Narrator's Opening Song - This opener mixes "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" from Sweeney Todd with its regular Pippin programming.
- "It's My Turn Now" - Melissa's solo moment is Schmigadoon's "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, Sally Bowles's show-stopping number.
- "Famous As Hell" - This episode goes full Jesus Christ Superstar, starting with a version of "Heaven on Their Minds" with hints of other JCS songs, such as "Superstar."
- "Sour Macaroon" - Coming in as a reprise of Topher's "I'm Done," this confirms the notes of Jesus Christ Superstar's "Last Supper."
- "There's Always a Twist" - Our first duet between Sergeant Rivera and Madame Frau is Cabaret's "It Couldn't Please Me More" (which is also about citrus fruit) with a Burt Bacharach treatment.
And here are some easter eggs from Episode 5 you could have missed!
- Josh walks out of the Kratt Club onto Lloyd St., likely a reference to composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Later, Josh and Melissa are seen on Webber Ave, confirming the theory.
- "Sour macaroon" could be a reference to multiple things. First, the lyric in JCS's "Last Supper" is "jaded mandarin," so this seems to be an equivalency. But it could also reference the Schmigadoon Season 1 lyric, "Where the air's as sweet as a macaroon."
- Melissa's "12-show" day references most Broadway shows' 12-show weeks.
- Melissa asks if Kratt "deserves to die," which is a direct line from Sweeney Todd's song, "Epiphany."
- In the Kratt club, we see twins Jacqueline and Joyce Robbins seemingly portraying a vaudeville version of the White-Faced Women from A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- The trio in "Always a Twist" is a common musical trope used in musicals like Little Shop of Horrors, Dreamgirls, and Hairspray.
Episode 6, “Over and Done"
- "Over and Done" - Finally, Ariana DeBose is back with a Schmicago rendition of Dreamgirls' "And I Am Telling You."
- "My Fishnets" - Jaime Camil's quick performance is a nod to The Rocky Horror Picture Show's Frank N-Furter.
- "Something Real (Reprise)" - Like Topher and Jenny's version, this seems to allude to "Love Song" from Pippin.
- "A Happy Beginning" - The song that begins with tiny leprechauns somehow combines "Finale" from Into the Woods, "I'd Do Anything" from Oliver, "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeney Todd, "Day by Day" from Godspell, the "Finale" from Pippin, and more.
And here are some more musical theater easter eggs from Episode 6!
- Miss Codwell asks Dooley to "Wait" which is a song from Sweeney Todd. After they kiss, he says, "God, That's Good!" which is another song from Sweeney.
- Topher says, "When your face has been slapped, you need to turn the other cheek and let that person slap you again." This references Jesus in Godspell: "Never set yourself against the man who wronged you. So if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn, and offer him your left."
- Kratt says "Enough of this prattle." Prattle is a pretty weird word and is used in "What's the Buzz" in Jesus Christ Superstar.
- Kratt is killed by a falling chandelier—a chandelier also famously falls in Phantom of the Opera.
- The idea that "happy endings don't exist" was a common theme in the musicals from the 1970s and '80s.
There are probably “Another Hundred References” we left off of this list, so let us know what we missed!
New episodes of Schmigadoon! drop every Wednesday on Apple TV Plus.