Way Off Broadway, episode 8: Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
There’s a lot going on during rehearsals this week—from musical guest stars to toddlers in tap shoes—and it all ends in a whole lot of tears and reality checks. But first, Taz cooks for everyone. “This is my comfort food; this is how I love,” says our favourite hot-and-cold cast member who went to cooking school in a previous life (lobbying for her own Food Network Canada show, perhaps?). We’d love the opportunity to break bread with the woman we love to hate (but not really hate), even though we’re thinking like Matt, the funny Aussie, who asks how healthy her incredibly delicious-looking Greek food is. TV chef moment aside, there are actual freak-outs and breakout moments to report on.
Do you remember ’90s singer-songwriter Amy Sky? Yep, we totally forgot about her, too. But, thanks to director Sarina, she comes around to school the cast on how to give a performance, and her life lessons are exactly what they all need (except Sandra, duh, who is this show’s treasure). “Goosebumps don’t come from BS,” she says. Out of nowhere, Amy decides to do a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and wow, where has she been this entire show? Her voice is pretty fantastic, and so full of that Alanis Morissette-era angst. She absolutely kills the song and—let’s face it—obliterates LeeAnne. We’re not sure if she went into this performance cold or if it was part of a script, but without a proper microphone or anything overtly technical to aid her, her voice sounds flawless. (Plus, how cute is it that ensemble member Michael is totally geeking out and taking paparazzi photos in the back?) Amy is the real treat of this episode, but she’s the bit of good news before the bad.
The cast meets Sarina’s junior students who will be playing the gang of munchkins. (Sarina calls them “walking hearts.”) They’re prepared—surprisingly so—and bring the A-game the grown-ups seem to be desperately lacking (with a few exceptions). It’s actually quite fun to see both groups interact with one another after they’ve been rehearsing separately. This is where we’re reminded that, yes, this is definitely community theatre, but that’s okay—there’s an ample amount of heart that keeps us satisfied (most of the time). A highlight is seeing Sandra, the Wicked Witch, totally freak out the children. The best part is, she’s unrepentant: “Sorry kids, I just gotta do this.” Right on.
The kids aren’t the only ones shedding tears. Sarina decides to give the cast an impromptu performance evaluation by way of issuing informal report cards. Not everyone wants Sarina to be “brutally honest,” especially not in front of the entire room, but, really, when has Sarina ever cared about being delicate with people’s feelings? You’d think Sarina was trying to give her own Oprah Lifeclass. Here’s a sampling of the grades, along with our notes:
Sarina says he’s giving her “honestly nothing.” This will be our barometer.
The Good Witch is pretty good, but can only seem to nail down one of her solo songs.
He’s been consistently on his game, working with his children on their parts, doing yoga to stay fit and more. See Bernie.
She got the flu and dropped out for a bit. See Rick.
Stroke that ego, Sarina. We know how fragile it is. But he really is doing great.
Michael O’Morrow, B+
The Cowardly Lion is doing just fine. Will graduate with honours.
Yeah, when he’s not rocking out or having beers, we think he plays a great Tinman.
Our brainy Scarecrow wanted an A+, but in Sarina’s words: “Step it up, Dr. Lee. Step it up.” Truth bomb.
“You’re gifted, you’re an artist,” says Sarina of the ensemble superstar/Amy Sky fanboy. We agree.
None of the leads got an A, and Dorothy is no exception. We’re not sure about the “plus,” but she’s got the entire show on her shoulders, so fine.
Does anyone else think our Wicked Witch needs that A+?
Girlfriend, are you really surprised? Let’s see if she comes back next week.
Rebecca. It is touching when the Good Witch comes to the rescue of a munchkin, who is freaking out over how believable Sandra is. Rebecca jumps right down to her and says, “Sweetie, she’s just pretending.” It was a syrupy moment caught on film.
Miles and “Q,” candidates for Canada’s Worst Handyman. Miles eats again on camera and on the job—but this time it’s a burger, not a whole red pepper. Q, Sarina’s son, totally has an out when his mom says she’s going to rent the sets, but he doesn’t take it. Those better turn out to be some sweet sets. We’ll eat crow.