BWW Interview: Rachel Bloom Opens Up About Life After CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND and a Future on Broadway?
She has already taken on television (and she has the awards to prove it). Now Rachel Bloom is coming to a city near you!
Bloom, who just last month won her first Emmy Award for "Anti-Depressants Are So Not a Big Deal"- a song featured on the final season ofCrazy Ex-Girlfriend- has been busy since the conclusion of her CW series. In May, Rachel sold out Radio City Music Hall performing CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND: LIVE as well as at The London Palladium, the latter of which earned her a five-star review from The Guardian. She also wrote and performed in "YES: IT'S REALLY US SINGING: THE CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND CONCERT" which aired after the series finale on the CW.
Now she's bringing her solo tour, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE NOW? across the country, with performances coming up in Boston, Dallas, Denver, and Los Angeles. Below, Rachel chats with BroadwayWorld about LIFE AFTER CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND and whether her future plans might take her to Broadway.
Firstly, I know you just won your first Emmy just a couple of weeks ago- congratulations!
You've been nominated for quite few! Did you feel it at the time- like this was THE ONE that could win?
No, we didn't know! The competition especially this year was incredibly stiff. I had a semi-good feeling about it, but my writing partners were like, "Absolutely not! There is no way in hell." It was a lovely moment because I was really hoping for it. I think I'm a lot more optimistic than they are. And when Lisa f***ing Kudrow announced it, I think I screamed the most I've screamed in my entire life. I was so excited.
The thing about these awards shows, especially with the Emmys, is that as the Executive Producer of a show, I'm on all of these Emmys-strategy publicity phone calls. So even if I didn't want to think about it, I have to, because it's such a big part of having a show. And the same thing goes with the Golden Globes. You do a press conference with the Hollywood Foreign Press, and then you write every single member a Thank You note. It's work! So even if you really don't want to think about awards shows, you really have to.
So every year I'm thinking about the Emmys because we have to decide what song we should submit. And then we have to choose from the thirty-plus songs from the season. We have to ask questions like: "What does the Academy tend to like? What do we think has the best shot?"
I'm sure it's kinda of of bitter sweet to, getting the acknowledgement after the conclusion of the series...
Nope! It felt like such a lovely culmination. I mean, it has felt a little bit bittersweet, because I miss all of the people, but because it was a planned ending, and we ended it all on our terms in the way we wanted to, it felt right. Also, everyone who worked on that show really busted their ass for four years. I have recurring dreams about once a week now, in which The CW is making us do Season 5 and I'm like, "But I don't know what this is gonna be!" [Laughs]. I'm sure I have that dream because I miss the work, and the order and structure of going to that job everyday. But in the dream I'm just in a panic of "We're out of ideas!" [Laughs]
What have you been missing the most?
The people. When you spend that much time with people, they become a part of you. Luckily we still see each other because the cast is so close. And of course I try to see the writers and other people who worked on the show. Just the other day Esther Povitsky, who played Maya, had a Comedy Central special taping and pretty much the whole cast showed up to support her. We try to stay in touch.
The name of your tour is WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE NOW? Is that a question that is answered in the show?
It's a mix of a lot of stuff from CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND and some new stuff- new stand-up and new songs. The tour is the answer to the question. What am I going to do with my life now? Well, I'm doing some shows!
What do you love the most about performing live?
The spontaneity. The unexpectedness. I like when things come up that are unique to only that show and it will never happen again.
I'm sure your audiences have to be pretty wild...
Oh my god, they are so incredibly passionate and so intense. I think the thing about being the cult show that we were and still are is that if you are a fan, you are a fan. Our audiences are singing along and sometimes crying. Some of the songs verge into more serious territory.
Then meeting fans after the show... it's always like, "I connected with this show on such a deep emotional level." I get to listen to story after story of people's own struggles of feeling out of place. I think that's the commonality of our fans. Anyone who has felt like they don't fit in- in us dealing with mental health, in us dealing with a character coming out as bi-[sexual], and even the fact that our main love-interest was Filipino. That really resonated with people in ways that we didn't even realize at first. We knew it was something we hadn't seen, but we didn't fully register it until after the show came out. And of course I have my own complex of feeling out of place, so I always really connect with the fans when I meet them.
Is there a song in this show that you particularly enjoy performing right now?
I've done so many iterations of the song "Friendtopia". When we have the full cast, it's been so fun to do that song with Vella [Lovell] and Gabrielle [Ruiz]. And when we don't have the full cast we've had both David Hull and Danny Jolles step in to play the girls. That was delight.
Then in London, we didn't have any of the girl cast with us, so I did the song with two audience volunteers. Our choreographer was with us, and I had her teach them the choreography quickly in front of the audience. See, that's what I like- reimagining. I don't want these songs to live in a glass museum case.
Beyond being onstage in this show, is Broadway something that you aspire to?
Oh absolutely! It's just a matter of time. You may actually be hearing some news soon about something I'm working on. We'll see!
Fantastic! Writing? Starring?
Both are definitely a goal. I think my ultimate dream would be to write something that I'm also in. But writing for Broadway is something that I'm hugely interested in.
I know you're based out of LA. Do you make it to New York often to see shows?
I really try to! I didn't get to the last time I was there because there wasn't enough time. Honestly, what's often more exciting to me is what's going on off-Broadway. That's where the real experimentation is happening. Shows don't have the pressure to appeal to a mass audience. That's what I love and have always loved.
Crazy Ex Girlfriend started four years ago and your life has changed pretty drastically since then. Do you ever have pinch-me moments of "How the hell did I get here?"
I think the thing that really dawns on me is how on the nose it all is. This is what I wanted for my life. I mean, I remember saying upwards of ten years ago with friends, "Yeah, my ultimate dream would be to write and create a musical television show." Specifically a musical television show... but of course I knew that the odds of that happening were very slim. The fact that it has happened, and it has tackled so many things that I care about... the odds were really slim. I know that they were not in my favor. But now I'm here!
For additional information about Rachel's tour, visit: https://racheldoesstuff.com/