How Schmigadoon crafted that hilarious dream ballet joke
Let's be honest, even if you love musicals, does anyone actually like a dream ballet?
The answer (for reasonable human beings) is no. A staple of golden-age musicals like Carousel, On the Town, An American in Paris, and Oklahoma, the dream ballet typically comes somewhere in the second act and often recaps the events of the musical thus far, giving insight into a character's psyche through dance. But what it really does is stop the action of a show in its tracks.
In the midst of an emotional crisis over her relationships, Cecily Strong's Melissa recognizes the gentle strains and soft lighting of what is about to become a dream ballet.
"Oh no, is this a dream ballet?" she inquires. "No no, we're not having a dream ballet. They're annoying and stupid and slow everything down. Nobody likes a dream ballet."
Thus, summing up the thoughts of generations of theatergoers.
But the joke actually arose from creator Cinco Paul having the same realization about including one in his storytelling.
"Originally, we were going to do a dream ballet," he tells EW. "And we wrote it, but then there was a point where we just realized, 'Oh, this is going to be too much.' It was me realizing, 'This is going to bring everything to a standstill, just like the way real dream ballets do.' And so we thought, let's keep the idea of the dream ballet, but actually not subject people to one."
Paul admits he considers the dream ballet the "low point" of Singin' in the Rain, an undisputed musical masterpiece.
"As entertaining as it is, it feels a little unnecessary," he adds. "So you have a nod to that, and Cecily got to voice what we're all thinking, 'No please, not a dream ballet.'"
Thanks for giving voice to the song, er, complaint, in our hearts, Schmigadoon.