- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - With less than 24 hours until the Emmy Awards, the vibe inside the Microsoft Theater is confoundingly calm.

After months of planning, most of Emmy’s elements are now in place for Sunday’s show, from the glimmering set to the clip packages and presenters.

“Now there’s less stress and more fun,” said executive producer Don Mischer, whose credits include the Super Bowl, Oscars and past Emmy telecasts. “By the time you get to this point, you’ve got a handle on it. But there are always surprises. That’s what’s fun about live television.”

Mischer and his team welcomed a spate of celebrity presenters Saturday during a daylong rehearsal he described as a “cattle call”: Stars come in every 10 minutes to run through their lines on the gilded Emmy stage.

And the stage really is gilded: Decked out in gold and framed by sparkling mosaic arches, it’s the first Emmy set designed by Baz Halpin, best known for creating concert stages for pop phenoms Pink, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

Perhaps because of Halpin’s musical background, the 67th annual Emmy Awards will feature a live band onstage, ensconced in a sort of silo in the center. Screens will move around the centerpiece during the show to reveal glimpses of the musicians.

The band wasn’t in place during rehearsals, but that didn’t stop Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele from dancing when practicing their presentation techniques Saturday. The comics took a jab at the Republican debates during their time onstage.

Jane Lynch and Eric Stonestreet also injected some comedy into their rehearsal. Lynch, who adorably wore a small backpack throughout, jogged across the stage when she realized she missed her mark. Stonestreet, meanwhile, joked that the two-pronged microphone looked like “Schweddy balls,” referring to Alec Baldwin’s classic “Saturday Night Live” sketch.

Fred Savage snapped a cellphone photo from the stage before he rehearsed, and got props from show director Louis J. Horvitz over the theater loudspeaker afterward.

“You are great. Huge fan,” Horvitz’s disembodied voice boomed.

The star of the beloved late 1980s series “The Wonder Years” said returning to the Emmy Awards for the first time since he was a child has been a heartwarming, emotional experience.

“It’s so exciting to be doing this again,” Savage said after stepping off stage. “And I felt so lucky. I felt so lucky to be doing this thing that you love so much and to still be doing it, and coming to the biggest night in television and being a part of it, it’s really kind of exciting and kind of emotional.”

And fitting with the theater and the producer’s calm energy, Savage isn’t nervous about appearing on the big show.

“I’ve been a part of this industry and this community since I was a little kid, so you look out and it just feels like a really warm room,” he said. “I don’t even think about the millions of people watching, which is probably a good thing.”


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .

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