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Inside Rachel Bloom’s ‘Crazy-Ex Girlfriend’ Concert at Radio City Music Hall

Category Broadway

|by Mikey Miller |

Bloom’s musical comedy series went out with a bang

She has friends; she definitely has friends. The CW’s musical television show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend may have ended this spring, but its star, writer, co-creator and executive producer Rachel Bloom wasn’t about to let title character Rebecca Bunch and all her friends go out without a bang. On May 14 and 15, 2019, Bloom and her co-stars (including Broadway performers Donna Lynne Champlin, Skylar Astin, Gabrielle Ruiz and David Hull) took to Radio City Music Hall for a concert featuring some of the most beloved Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs – many of which have their roots in specific Broadway musical numbers – to celebrate the close of the series. The concert special wasn’t all songs, though; Bloom made sure to pack the event with surprises of all types. Here are four of our favorite moments from the night.

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ star Rachel Bloom performing in Los Angeles in 2017 (Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ star Rachel Bloom performing in Los Angeles in 2017 (Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

A surprise special guest
Rachel Bloom announced a few days before the concert that it would feature a surprise special guest, leaving fans to wonder exactly who it would be. Fans were hopeful for the likenesses of Tovah Feldschuh (who plays Rebecca’s overbearing mother, Naomi), Patti LuPone (who makes a one-episode stint as Rebecca’s rabbi) or Santino Fontana (who originated the role of Greg in the series and is now starring in Broadway’s Tootsie, for which he is nominated for a Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Musical). The special guest ended up being Bloom’s co-creator and writing partner, Aline Brosh McKenna, who has written and directed a number of episodes for the series. McKenna, who is Jewish like Bloom, performed the Hamilton-inspired “JAP Battle Rap,” briefly assuming the role of Audra Levine, Rebecca Bunch’s childhood frenemy who competes with her in every way. McKenna did not disappoint.

And some reluctant special guests
One of the major plotlines of season 3 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is that Darryl Whitefeather (Rebecca’s boss at the law firm, played by Pete Gardner) is looking to have a second child, but this time through surrogacy, as he and his wife are no longer together. Darryl has a test done to discover if he is still capable of producing a child, and when he finds out the results, he sings the incredibly catchy “My Sperm is Healthy,” where he is accompanied by backup dancers dressed up as large sperm. In a hilarious bit, Gardener’s real-life kids, Matthew and Dexter, reluctantly donned the gamete-inspired costumes.

Proposals, proposals, proposals
The entirety of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend follows Rebecca Bunch as she tries to figure out what she needs to do to marry the man of her dreams, who could be one of three suitors: Josh Chan (her old camp boyfriend), Greg Serrano (his alcoholic best friend) and Nathaniel Plimpton III (her arrogant new boss). The concert special paid homage to this with not one but two marriage proposals onstage. Bloom, of course, took the opportunity to joke that when she was asked to let two people propose onstage, how could she say no? She’d have less time to fill on her own!

Broadway’s Donna Lynne Champlin
Donna Lynne Champlin, whose Broadway resume includes the Italian barber Pirelli in the Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris-led Sweeney Todd, was one of the constant standouts of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, playing Paula Proctor, a resourceful paralegal at Rebecca’s law firm who becomes her best friend and confidant. Over the course of the four seasons, this incredible character actress got to show off everything she can do, from singing a Disney princess-inspired “Maybe This Dream,” to “The Miracle of Birth,” a folk song about what it’s like to deliver a child. For the final number of the concert (before the obligatory encore), Champlin, referred to as “our future president” by Bloom earlier in the night, threw it back to Paula’s first ballad, “Face Your Fears,” a gospel number from the third episode where she urges Rebecca to run with scissors, join the Marines and swim right after eating (metaphorically, of course). At the end of the number, Champlin received a standing ovation from the entire house.

For more of the best of Broadway and beyond, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in May 2019

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