Way Off Broadway, episode 4: I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!
It appears the hinges unhitch a little more this week on Way Off Broadway, because the struggles of balancing real life with illusions of Broadway stardom have begun to sink in. The wannabe stars, starlets, prima donnas and extras struggle to keep up with the demands of learning choreography, so Sarina Condello adds a new complicated dance to the show—naturally! And Taz? Well, she’s her own separate animal and we shine a light on her to reveal what’s going down with the girl who’s barely trying.
The big cliffhanger of last week’s episode was Taz’s imminent departure, so we should put a small spotlight on this modicum of reality TV drama: she doesn’t leave, she probably won’t leave, and she’s apparently recommitted to the group. Cast members without a will-she-or-won’t-she-leave storyline face their own life-work balance crises this week: Jon, the Scarecrow, is preparing for a big medical presentation as part of his psychiatry licensing (his bombastic, academic attitude gets old, but we can deal with it because he plays coy and modest so well); Michael, the Lion, is living in “two weeks of complete hell” between of his work with Greenpeace and staying on track so he can graduate from university (the first in his family to do so); Siobhan, a Dorothy hopeful and now a tree with a solo, is also a busy student with a physics assignment, a midterm and two essays; and the Wicked Witch, Sandra, is still hustling, but is totally feeling the sacrifices of her home life. Stay strong, mama, the show needs you! Pair all of these real-life obstacles with rehearsals that end at 11 p.m., and we believe Siobhan when she says she’s “earning her sleep.”
Apart from being busy, this ragtag group also appears to be out of shape for what Sarina has in store for them. She introduces a new dance for a just-added song called “The Jitterbug,” which—fun fact—is a song from the original Wizard of Oz which took five weeks to rehearse and film, but was cut because it didn’t make sense. Why Sarina feels she needs to use it is beyond us, because it only contributes to some of the cast members struggling to keep up—Rick says he has “ibuprofen coming out of [his] ying yang” for sore knees from all the jitterbugging, and he does yoga three times a week.
We formally meet Clare this week, who up until now has only made cameo appearances in random conversations—she’s a mother of four, and in all of the dance numbers. She wins this week’s biggest LOL, doing the Jitterbug for her clearly uninterested sons while demanding,“stop reading, be interested in me,” and while Sarina doesn’t win anything (no Ozzy for you this week, sorry!), we give snaps to her for putting her dance moves on YouTube so that the tired cast can practice at home.
Michael O’Morrow, the Lion, and his mom. He used to be a hockey coach until his early 20s, calling it “the last bastion of heterosexuality.” He was regrettably tough on players, and participated in name-calling and teasing. Eventually, he realized he couldn’t lie to himself and everyone else anymore, dropped the act and changed his life. And his mother supported him every step of the way.
Natalie, musical director Shelia’s daughter. After wasting our time with a string of dog auditions for Toto, it turns out they’re going to use a child actor. Natalie participates with enthusiasm and puts up with our benevolent director repeatedly saying “good girl” after she fake barks. Natalie is five, Sarina, and not actually a dog.
Jon, the Scarecrow. His big medical presentation is titled “Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as the Standard of Care for Major Depressive Disorder in Canada: Has the time come?” We’ll just ignore that his celebration plans involve catching up on The Vampire Diaries.