Warning: Spoilers ahead for the finale of “Schmigadoon!”
The finale of “Schmigadoon!” on Apple TV+ brought a whole lot of big revelations with it, ranging from characters’ secret political beliefs to their pyrotechnic tendencies. But arguably the biggest reveal came in the form of a secret child — well, two actually. Because as it turns out, Emma Tate (Ariana DeBose) wasn’t the only one hiding the fact that she was a mother; Kristin Chenoweth’s Mildred Layton was too.
It was a twist Chenoweth was particularly pleased about, because for her, it rounded out the character and made Mildred more than just an uptight, old-fashioned villain.
“It was so good to have that in the character because when I got first got the part, I told Barry [Sonnenfeld, the series director], ‘I need the Mildred Pierce hairdo, I need the Joker maniacal lips, I need a mole,'” Chenoweth told TheWrap. “I didn’t win the mole. He said no. But I did need that part of the character.”
Granted, it’s a twist many people saw coming — or rather, were hoping for. But those same people also expected it would be Dove Cameron’s character, Betsy, who was secretly Mildred’s daughter, considering the two actresses have played mother and daughter multiple times before.
In the end, Mildred’s secret daughter was actually the young woman who Melissa (Cecily Strong) helped through childbirth after being turned away by Doc Lopez (Jaime Camil) for getting pregnant out of wedlock. That said, Cameron’s Betsy was still an influential part of Chenoweth’s take on Mildred.
“The way I view Mildred is, she used to be Dove’s character,” Chenoweth said. “And through giving a baby [up], you know, adoption, which is a big part of my own personal story, doesn’t matter. But I believe she was [Betsy] and then she became this angry insecure woman. So you know, though Dove and I have our long history together, Dove’s character actually was a huge… I use that for my own character.”
Chenoweth also explained that with Mildred, she really got to spread her wings as an actress by doing something she’d never gotten to do before.
“I’m so glad that Barry let me do it. This is our fifth project together. So he’s like my big brother. I’m glad he let me go there,” Chenoweth said. “I’ve played the villain many times, but looking like [me]. And I was ready to — they call it the crossover. I was ready to cross over a long time ago, but I was finally allowed to.”
But for as much fun as Chenoweth had with Mildred, she was ready for a break from the character by the time Season 1 wrapped.
“The corset was too tight. The lips were too maniacal. I actually, by the end, was a little bit becoming her and I knew my time was done,” Chenoweth said. “I needed to be done with Mildred.”
Should a second season of “Schmigadoon!” be ordered, though, Chenoweth is still very much in “mom mode” when it comes to Cameron’s character. Because as the final minutes of the episode indicated, Betsy and Danny Bailey (Aaron Tveit) seemed to really hit it off.
“I want to see what that rapscallion does to my Betsy!” Chenoweth laughed.