Behind the Scenes at the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Finale Concert

Tomorrow night is the series finale of one of my favorite TV shows, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. At surface level, this show might seem to have nothing to do with princess culture, but it is actually a deconstruction of many of the less empowering tropes introduced in some older princess movies and romantic comedies while still embracing the traits of these passionate women that we can all connect with. The show features several princess-inspired music numbers as well as a made-up Disney Princess movie called Slumbered that the main character, Rebecca, supposedly grew up with. Series star and co-creator Rachel Bloom does everything for her fans just like a real-life princess would. That's why the series finale tomorrow night will be followed by a concert special that Rachel cordially invited all her fans in the Los Angeles area to attend as audience members. I just happened to be one of those lucky fans.

This event was more than just a concert. Even though many people arrived at the Orpheum Theater extremely early and baked in the California sun to ensure entry, Rachel and her crew did everything in their power to make the fans feel welcome and comfortable once they were inside. All of the lobbies were transformed into a museum featuring as many costumes and props from the show as they could get their hands on. In the image above, I am standing in front of two of my favorite dresses from the series--Rebecca's wedding dress from the heartrendingly beautiful second season finale and her romantic "Taylor Swift" inspired look from the third season opening that portrayed some conflicting aspects of her personality. Other costumes on display included dresses from the two show-stopping Broadway inspired numbers "West Covina" and "A Diagnosis," a skeleton dress from a more recent music video called "The Cringe," a dazzling white gown from the first season for an ironic Bette Midler inspired number called "You Stupid Bitch," and a '70s style jumpsuit from the second season's "We'll Never Have Problems Again" video. Various signs form the show were on display all over the theater's waiting areas as well, including the lovely Renaissance style sign that says "Ye Olde West Covina" and was used in a music number inspired by "Belle" from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

The concert was filled with fans who cosplayed their own versions of the outfits that were on display. Rachel and her crew gave special attention to many of these cosplayers between takes to ask them about their costumes. At the beginning of the show, Rachel gave some attention to a girl sitting in box seat who was wearing a funky outfit from a music video for a song called "I Give Good Parent" to tell her that one of the overhead camera shots zoomed on her butt because of her attention to detail in printing the words "Good Hygiene" on it to match the costume from the show. Series co-creator and showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna also came out between takes to ask trivia and answer questions that fans had about the series. The concert was filmed over two days, and I attended the second day's filming. I was told by a friend that the first day had a comedian between takes instead of trivia. This was not my first experience being in the audience or background of a TV show, but it was by far my favorite. Everyone who put together the event went out of their way to show the audience that this was being done to thank them for being fans of the show and that they were not mere accessories as extras are often treated. There were tons of cameras all over the theater. They asked the audience to act a little between takes so they would have extra reaction shots to use in the final edit. Don't be surprised if you happen to see me somewhere in the audience when the concert airs tomorrow night!

The show had very high production values that were on par with some of my favorite concerts and live shows. The back of the stage was a LED projector screen that mostly projected like a wooden wall with a marquee of the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend logo hanging from it, but it occasionally shifted to other designs to match whatever musical number was being performed. My favorite backdrop was a fairy tale castle with what appears to be the gate to the Paramount Pictures lot in front of it. This was used for the Disney Princess number from the show, "Maybe This Dream," which was performed by Donna Lynne Champlin who plays Paula Proctor. Donna came out in a shimmering blue gown and told the audience that her dream was to play a role where she could wear the "pretty dress," and she was thrilled because that dream had finally come true. She is a wonderful representation of why the media should consider including more plus-sized princesses. She has a beautiful voice and is too talented to just be stuck in the "best friend" archetype. Aside from the projector wall, some set pieces were used in the show as well. During the opening "West Covina" number, Rachel Bloom was lifted over the stage with a crane while sitting on the original giant pretzel that was used in the music video. There was also an incredibly fancy red bed that looked like it belonged in a palace used for a medley of sex songs from the show. The concert also had several confetti cannons that shot out metallic glitter confetti all over the audience, giving them something to take home with them.

After the concert ended, some of my friends decided to wait outside in case any of the cast members came out. We made our way around the theater and found a secret area in the back where we saw Kat Burns, the choreographer, Skylar Astin, who replaced Santino Fontana as Greg this season, Pete Gardner, who plays Darrell, Danny Jolles, who plays George, and Rene Gube, who plays Father Brah. When we got bored of standing in the back area, we returned to the front where we were surprised to see Vella Lovell, who plays Heather (as well as Mermista from the She-Ra Reboot) and Gabrielle Ruiz, who plays Valencia. Some cosplayers were taking a photo with Vella doing a pose from the "Let's Generalize About Men" song when Gabrielle appeared from seemingly out of nowhere to photobomb them with her pose from the number! It was a hilarious and magical moment. Just when I thought it wouldn't be worth it to wait around any longer, Rachel Bloom herself emerged from the double doors wearing a gorgeous flowing golden gown that she had on for less than a minute of the concert after joking that it was too itchy and uncomfortable to wear for a full musical number. Rachel was every bit the princess you would expect her to be from her down-to-earth role on the show. She thanked everyone for waiting for her, greeted each fan individually, complimented some of my friends on their talents, and asked us all to pose for a group photo on her phone after she spoke to everyone. It could not have been a more perfect ending to a perfect night. The series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs on the CW tomorrow at 8/7 central followed by the concert at 9. I can't wait to see how the televised version turned out!


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