When it came to creating original period-style songs for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s fourth season, composers-songwriters Tom Mizer and Curtis Moore say the thoroughly music-savvy creator Amy Sherman-Palladino frequently throws them challenging curveballs.
During an onstage interview at Deadline’s Sound & Screen awards-season music event, the duo revealed that was the case in composing “Maybe Monica,” which was sung at the wedding of closeted pop singer Shy Baldwin (LeRoy McClain) by his best man, real-life calypso hitmaker Harry Belafonte (Josh A. Dawson).
“We had to think about both a song that could conceivably be a pop song of the era, but also his best friend has written a song, who he’s sort of leaving behind to do this,” said Mizer.
“Usually every time that we get an assignment to write a song, we send them two or three or four various bits of songs: ‘Is this kind of a way to go?‘ ” added Moore. “And this this song was one of the toughest ones for us because we kept thinking, ‘How are we going to write this? Why aren’t they using a source [song by] Harry Belafonte?’ It makes sense with Shy Baldwin — Shy Baldwin is a fictional character — but Harry Belafonte is very much real and has so many amazing tunes.”
“We gave [Sherman-Palladino] a couple of songs that we liked, but they just weren’t it, and we thought, ‘Just use a Harry Belafonte song!’ laughed Mizer. “She came back to us with a great note, which was ‘It’s not a pop song – it’s a toast.’…So that just opened the door for us, so we wrote it like a best man’s toast. He’s making fun of Shy and his bride.”
Moore said the duo loved layering in veiled references to Baldwin’s hidden sexual orientation. “We come from the world of theater…[and we] throw in some theater little jabs that, like, whether or not Harry knows exactly what the story is with Shy, the song definitely kind of has this extra meaning.”
Mizer and Moore recalled first meeting Sherman-Palladino when the collaborators were set up on “blind writing date” prior to the launch of Maisel.
“She, as you can tell from the show, is a Broadway baby, and she really wanted to write a musical for stage,” Mizer recalled. “And we were put together to write a musical with her, and we had a good some good meetings and we hit it off. And then she came to us one day and said ‘I have to do this little Amazon pilot. I’ll be away for a couple months. No one’s gonna watch the show. We’ll write the musical then.’ ”
“We haven’t written musical yet,” Mizer deadpanned.
Check back Monday for the panel video.