Schitt’s Creek is finally tackling community theater. Small-town theater plus Moira Rose? It was only a matter of time. Well, the time is now. The day is ours. Not only is the Schitt’s Creek Community Theater up and running, but for this year’s performance they have selected Cabaret. (Our intrepid director Jocelyn wanted Cats, but people thought it was too political, so yes, of course, Cabaret please.) Willkommen! And bienvenue! Welcome! This is going to be a hoot.
You might not know — unless you have spent any time in the vicinity of Moira Rose — but Moira’s big break came in the form of Sally Bowles in Cabaret back in 1979. I can’t do her retelling of the story from the time she was a hostess at a gas station deli and was discovered by a director who walked in looking for a Reuben (it’s a sandwich, Patrick), but if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now. It is so divine, it’s almost hard to look at. Regardless, once she hears about the show from Patrick, who is auditioning (I’m so excited for him!), you know she has to get involved.
Much to her credit, Moira arrives at Jocelyn’s auditions not to take part in the production, but merely to watch. She wants to “marinate in the memories” of her time in Cabaret, if you will. But Moira is Moira and she has notes. The fun twist here is that Jocelyn doesn’t mind. In fact, she would much rather have Moira take this job on — Jocelyn has a baby and job to deal with, plus Moira’s proving much more “connected” to the material. Take, for example, their notes when Bob auditions: Jocelyn tells Bob to maybe act angrier?; Moira tells him to inject his performance with the “foreboding vibration of pre-war Berlin.” When Patrick auditions for Cliff, Moira directs him into a pretty good performance and declares that he should play the Emcee; he is the most talented person they’ve seen all day (AGAIN: SO EXCITED). After that, and the thought that she could be a quadruple threat (although she’d never say that, for she is humble), it doesn’t take much for Jocelyn to convince Moira to take on the directing gig. Sure there is some talk of her taking on the mantle of Sally Bowles once more, but even though she did play the role of Liesl von Trapp at the age of 50, the age discrepancy here might be too distracting. The woman was born to direct this show and I was born to watch it all happen! This is going to be the truest of delights.
But that is for another day. In tonight’s episode, the true delight comes from Eugene Levy uttering the phrase “whisper of desire” in Annie Murphy’s face. There’s no character pairing on this show that doesn’t work, especially when it comes to our four mains, but there is something about the comedic chemistry between Levy and Murphy that brings me joy any time I see them in a storyline together. Here they are paired together as Ted’s hot mom Cheryl comes to town and stays at the motel.
Almost immediately, Johnny starts getting a “vibe” from Cheryl. She’s touchy-feely and very complimentary. Could it be “a whisper of desire?” It’s possible. Or, you know, more likely, as Alexis explains, she could just be a nice person — she is happily married, after all. Alexis can’t believe her father is being this ridiculous, and forces him to join them all for lunch. While at lunch, where Cheryl is still making Johnny uncomfortable, Alexis ropes her father into taking Cheryl to an art exhibit she has tickets for (Alexis is helping Ted at the extra-busy clinic). “I’d look like a real jerk if I said no,” Johnny replies. It’s only after that’s settled that Ted lets Alexis and Johnny know that his mother is newly single. Alexis immediately regrets all of her decisions in regards to Johnny and Cheryl. She especially regrets it when Ted informs them that his mother has a new lease on life and is going after everything she wants — no holds barred. “Well, hopefully some holds barred,” Johnny chokes out. Yeah, this could get very awkward.
And I don’t just mean the fact that Johnny and Cheryl take in a nude photography exhibit together. When they return, Alexis tries to run interference between the two of them — and as much as I enjoy watching Johnny squirm a little, I’m glad the show doesn’t go there. In fact, it turns out that Cheryl is in love with her Zumba instructor and Johnny simply reminds her of her older brother. A true gentleman! Father and daughter Rose are relieved.
Elsewhere, David gives us a true gift: The experience of watching him interact with a baby. It is both awful and wonderful. Roland comes into the store with Roland Jr., but has to leave him there after getting a call about Gwen electrifying herself on some cut power lines. And by “has to” I mean “almost doesn’t” but even David can tell bringing a baby to a place with flailing electrical wires doesn’t seem like a great call. Still, he’s not thrilled with being left with a child since he has a potential client coming in to see the store. When Roland Jr. starts crying, David’s response is, “No, I will not accept that,” because he is our one true king.
Lucky for him, Tina, the potential client, loves babies, which helps in them forging a personal connection — something David so clearly is not into doing. So when Tina mistakes Roland Jr. as David’s kid, David rolls with it. He almost ruins the ruse multiple times with his lack of baby knowledge — Roland is huge for a 3 month old and babies can’t eat granola — but he ends up being convincing enough. He even manages to keep it together when Roland returns and he has to make Tina believe they are a couple. Roland is still the one character on this show that I can’t warm up to, but throwing him in David’s path is a good start. Roland remains completely oblivious, and David wins Tina’s business. It probably won’t last too long, since Tina is going to come by the store to pick a few things up and she wants to see David’s son again. Although, who knows, Roland might be into renting out his kid if David ever fully explains the situation to him. He seems like that type of dad.
The Wig Wall
• Moira and David express some apprehension over Jocelyn directing Cabaret (or “scaling this cultural monolith”), but Patrick assures them it just seems like a fun thing to do. To which Moira astutely points out that that was “the exact sentiment expressed by the passengers as they stepped aboard the Titanic … they were having a rip-roaring bash before that bloody iceberg!”
• Ted doesn’t appreciate his mother telling embarrassing childhood stories at lunch, and so asks them to tell some stories about someone else who was naked and crying. Alexis: “Okay fine, but I think everyone here has already heard about my Vin Diesel adventure.”
• What the hell was going on over at Gwen’s? Roland returns from the loose wire situation having been electrocuted three times, but Gwen is fine — apparently she was wearing a rubber dress when she cut the wire. What is Gwen’s life?
• I will treasure Eugene Levy saying this: “Always a thrill to experience a collection of nude photographs with a new friend.”
• Alexis’s reaction to Ted asking if he can call him Uncle Johnny is perfection.
• Who else is ready to see Ronnie’s Fraulein Schneider? I hear she’s a revelation.
• Hey guys, as always, “Have a nice room.”