17 September 2019

Rachel Bloom's Largo Residency

One half of the Honeynerds is a huge Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fan, and I was so excited when I found out that Rachel Bloom would be doing a monthly show at the Largo in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.  I've gone to the first two shows now and it's been a blast!

The Largo is an interesting theater in L.A.  It's intimate, with its own bar within the courtyard area, and a legacy of showcasing a variety of quirky shows - both comic and musical. And I was excited to see what Rachel would do with her show, as it seems a catch-all type thing for her to talk about absolutely anything.  After all, her show has the questionably informative "Hi I'm Rachel and This is My Show" as the title.  With the loose description, I thought I would see something pretty un-structured, but I'm happy to say there seems to have been a lot of thought and effort put into each show so far.

The First Show

The inaugural show was devoted to a glimpse into the creative side of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  After a solo welcome and mini monologue, Rachel introduced the people who helped her create the show and craft the songs - Aline Brosh McKenna, Adam Schlesinger, and Jack Dolgen.  They talked about the theme songs they had written for Crazy-Ex and in a truly delightful turn of events, Rachel decided to rehash the agonies they went through while trying to find the Season 4 theme song.  There seems to have been real tensions and issues that came from that session, and Rachel had printed out copies of emails to give to her guests to remind them of what had occurred (not necessarily to read to the audience).  They also played some of the failed attempts at the theme, and there were a few that I really loved and would have enjoyed as the theme song.  The whole night seemed about the trials and tribulations of the creative process and it made for an interesting hour and a half.

Afterwards, my friend and I were lucky enough to get a quick picture with Rachel, who stopped to say hi to the group of people waiting to see her, and we told Rachel we already bought tickets to her next show in August - which was called "Theater Kid Redemption Night."  And Rachel seemed excited about what she had planned for it, and it lived up to her enthusiasm.

Unfortunately the lighting was pretty harsh!

The Second Show

This night, Rachel gathered a group of her friends to talk about their horror stories growing up as a theater kid, and finding ways to redeem those terrible experiences.  The show began with a video of teenage Rachel Bloom in a production of "Oliver!" as Nancy - with a revealing décolletage, a red wig, and an iffy English accent.  And halfway through the number, actual Rachel Bloom came out - showing off some cleavage, wearing a red wig and singing in an overemphasized English accent.  It was hilarious!  And it was not the first time that night, that someone would perform to a video of their younger selves doing a song.  Which is such a strange, existential thing.  It was fascinating to watch though.  

There were so many guests on this show, that I'm afraid I can't name them all, but these are the ones I remember - Danny Jolles, Scott Michael Foster, Vincent Rodriguez III, David Hull, Kat Burns, Erick Lopez, Rebekka Johnson, Kimmy Gatewood, John Milhiser,  Ilana Peña, Dan Gregor, and several people Rachel went to school with, which was such an interesting and fantastic idea.  Especially since they went (comedically) into some issues they had at school.  In one song Rachel sang about how she was president of the Drama Club even though she wasn't very qualified, and she performed the song with the guy who also ran for that position and would have been much better at it.  Towards the end of the night, she came out with her fellow Doo-Wop girls and they glared/sang over the actual girl who got the role of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors which they had all auditioned for.

The show was all about theater and high school drama, with plenty of singing and dancing.  And it was wonderful.  I even got to participate (somewhat) when Erick Lopez asked if I would be the "judge" for his performance and I was able to give him a better score than what he received in high school.  

This night, the show felt much more of a variety show with all the stories, and different kinds of performances and I absolutely loved it.  I was hoping Rachel would announce the theme of her next show but she wasn't able to, so I'm not sure what is in store, but I highly recommend checking it out if you are in the area and are a fan of musicals, comedy, and Rachel Bloom!

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