In this week’s episode of Way Off Broadway, a tense mood is making certain cast members varying degrees of crazy. Rebecca, the Good Witch, is super-anxious, and Jon isn’t helping her much when he shares his own neuroses. Elaine Overholt is back for a final boot camp session before the cast performs for friends and family, which is certainly causing some, if not all, of the stress. And, wouldn’t you know it, Elaine isn’t happy—and her arrow is pointing directly at the chorus.Last time Elaine made an appearance, everyone was initially excited. Now, they’re terrified—especially Jodi. The first song the chorus butchers is “Merry Old Land of Oz,” so Elaine tells them to sing it like they have a dirty secret. “Even Julie Andrews has a dark side,” she says. (LOL. And whips, too?) Amid all the tension, we do think it’s cute when Overholt confuses Matt’s Aussie accent for a gimmick that’s blocking the song. What isn’t so cute is when she tells Jodi she has “dead eyes.” (There are tears.)
Elaine says, “Ms. Sarina, it seems some people don’t know the words or what they’re singing about.” We’d like to remind everyone that this episode takes place days before the dress rehearsal. Oy. The scene is a mess: Rebecca looks like she’s focusing way too hard, like she’s preparing to launch into space with clenched fists; and Jodi calls herself “Bambi on ice.” Oddly, among the tragic huddled masses, Elaine notices a change in Taz—she’s happier, brighter and more digestible. We admit, Taz is trying a little more, but it almost seems too perfect a change of heart.
The real test is seeing how the cast members fare when they perform for family and friends in the church gym before moving to the theatre stage. We knew it was going to be a hot mess. To our delight, however, Sarina takes control as the demanding leader she’s been from the start. She says they need to stop performing like they’re in front of a bathroom mirror and “think big.” Sarina is not going to say a word, and the cast will be responsible for their own show. Matt thinks it’s too early for an audience, but we disagree. This is very necessary. This cast needs fear to prove just how much they aren’t ready yet.
The main cast and chorus aren’t the only ones who are starting to see the fruits of their labour. “Q” and Miles finish some semblance of a set which, we’ll be honest, looks sort of visually interesting. The costumes have almost all come together and, save for makeup, everyone still looks great. Taz is suddenly more human and less of a diva now and, after learning how to ride a bike, she feels she’s changing with the “wave of positivity” coming to her. But in the end she’ll be riding a tricycle; it was all part of Sarina’s master plan to open Taz up a little to try new things. There’s nothing like a good life coach moment to make our eyes roll a little bit. Sheila criticizes LeeAnne for being almost “too perfect,” and while we’ve never been her biggest fan, she has definitely taken ownership of her performance. In contrast, shining star Sandra, the Wicked Witch, has been losing her light for a few weeks now, and Harvey, the veteran we all had big hopes for, can barely keep up with everyone. Oh, and no one has really managed to memorize their lines and cues.
After next week, there are no more rehearsals. The show will go on. This could be an absolute disaster.
Bailey, Sarina’s assistant. It’s time to pay tribute to the silent star of the show. She helps keep Sarina from blowing up with every phone call, and she organizes all the schedules, the costumes, the contacts and the breakdowns. Since this is our last chance to give her a shout-out, you go, girl!
Q, Sarina’s son, and Miles, her nephew. We cannot believe we’re saying this either, but those boys pulled through. Somehow. Sorta. It’s not like everything is done or perfect, but they took on the challenge and, well, they delivered. We’ll find out for sure next week, but bravo for not backing out.