How 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Tricked You Into Being a Theatre Person
It would take some serious powers of denial to watch any episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and not realize that you were watching incredibly talented performers do things more… theatrical than what you usually see in a prime time comedy. Still, it may be easy to put this show’s amazing musical numbers in a category that’s less Rogers & Hammerstein and more in line with Rachel Bloom’s previous impressive YouTube work.
But last night, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend made sure that there could be no doubt about what this show is. With a huge group number that went full Music Man, it was clear: we are watching musical theatre on television. And we have been all along. How can we be sure? Just check out this cast, and all the Tony nominations they’ve got between them. Sorry, fans who thought you were just watching straight-up television. You’re theatre people now.
Greg (Santino Fontana)
You probably already knew that Fontana had more than just a fortuitously great voice, and that he has some sort of dance or theatre background after his amazing Plan B number.
But his history may be more musical than you realized. Among other numerous credits, Fontana originated the role of Tony in Billy Elliot on Broadway, and was nominated for a Tony as Cinderella’s Prince Topher.
Oh yeah, he was also freaking Hans in Frozen.
Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III)
Again, you already knew Josh Chan had moves.
But Rodriguez also traveled the country in a national tour of Anything Goes.
Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz)
Surprisingly complex and uber-hot mean girl Valencia has shown off her yoga skills—
—But Ruiz has rocked West Side Story
—And this awesome top hat in A Chorus Line.
She’s also performed on Broadway a number of times.
Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin)
Paula is one of my favorite characters on the show, because she manages to strike that perfect balance of normal everyday human and TOTAL NUTJOB. She’s been performing on and off-Broadway, as well as regionally for a decade and a half, perhaps most notably (among a lot of notable credits) playing Pirelli (that’s Sascha Baron Cohen if you’ve only seen the movie) opposite Patti Lupone in the Sweeney Todd revival.
White Josh (David Hull)
White Josh got an awesome small arc in this week’s episode, as it came out (HE didn’t come out, because everyone already knew) that he’s gay. Hull also has some crazy impressive credits, like Book of Mormon, the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and the original Broadway production of Wicked.
Heather (Vella Lovell)
Heather may be my actual favorite character on the show, as she’s basically Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Negasonic College-aged Warhead.
Lovell doesn’t have too many theatre credits to her name right now, though, as she just graduated from a little place called motherfucking JUILLIARD.
Mrs. Bunch (Tovah Feldshuh)
Rebecca’s mother had an incredible number about wanting to know where the bathroom is in an episode exploring how her daughter’s life could be so disappointing.
Feldshuh made her Broadway debut in 1973, she’s been nominated for four Tony Awards, and she starred in Broadway’s longest-running one-woman show (Golda’s Balcony.)
Welcome to our world, TV people. It’s good to have you here, appreciating the lifelong hard work and training of so many talented performers.