First of all… WELCOME BACK, TED LASSO!!!! We’ve missed your positivity, your clever little sayings, and just your overall genuine goodness. Ever since you walked into our lives, we’ve all been a little better and we’ve even learned some new things. Which brings me to why you’re reading this little crossover of my perfect world, where sports and Sondheim (well mostly) converge.
Not to quote one of the actual characters she played, but “Shame” on me for not putting these pieces together sooner, given just how obsessed I am with Ted Lasso, Musical Theater, and Game of Thrones. But if you found yourself going into a shame spiral of research after seeing this meme about Hannah Waddingham a while ago (aka Rebecca from TL) much like I did, then this is the article for you.
So, on the off chance that you are one of the few that hasn’t seen Ted Lasso by now, I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by telling you that there’s a karaoke scene in the seventh episode of the first season that will likely blow your socks off. What is more impressive, however, than her rendition of “Let It Go,” is not only her on screen credits but her on stage ones.
Naturally, the sight of not only the song but also this meme led me to one of my favorite pastimes. A good old fashioned fall down a YouTube rabbit hole. What I found down this rabbit hole and while talking to friends about what I was witnessing was nothing short of astonishing.
Hannah, aka Rebecca Welton, the jilted now owner of AFC Richmond in Lasso, has a resume of theater and on-screen credits that’s almost as long as her perfectly proportioned body. Don’t mind me ogling her, she’s just the ideal physical type that I would be if I could be born again into a different body. And then there’s the voice. And the hair. And the acting. And the arms. I haven’t fallen this in love with a musical theater actress since I walked in on Marin Mazzie singing in the Andrew Lloyd Webber trio in the 1999 My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies DVD that my mom randomly bought from Borders one Saturday afternoon at the turn of the last century. (s/o to Jessie Mueller for being in a very close second in this race).
Since I can’t seem to find a postable clip of “Rebecca” singing Let It Go, I thought it would be fun to take you all down the rabbit hole with me and share some of my favorite clips that I found during my spiral. And, in this order, they take a similar path to that of Rebecca in the show.
It’s Your Fault
In the Regents Park Revival of “Into the Woods”, Waddingham navigates one of Sondheim’s most coveted female roles as the former beauty turned hag by way of an evil spell cast by her mother. After the Witch returns to her formerly stunning state thanks to having the curse reversed in the first act, she and her fellow fairytale characters are confronted with the kinds of loss that only storytellers of Sondheim’s and librettist James Lapine’s quality can gift an audience with. It all comes to a head in the second act, when they launch into one of the more complicated quintets in the musical theater canon. It’s no exaggeration to say that I would take any role offered to me in this show and this would be in my top 3. My character choice preference would be to be the one that’s already dead that spurred this conflict on. #IYKYK.
Send In The Clowns
Confession time, I don’t really like this song. But Hannah’s rendition actually touched me. It’s the simple heartbreak that you watch her character of Desiree experience as she bids farewell to her longtime, on-again/off-again lover Frederik that you also see shades of throughout the first season, as she grapples with the fallout of Rebecca’s very public divorce and very public embarrassment at the hands of her ex-husband Rupert.
If you thought I didn’t like the last song then it should come as no surprise that I hate this song. Again, I only included it because it’s so brilliantly acted that it makes you almost forget how many crappy versions you’ve heard over the years. That’s all I really have to say about it. No in-depth analysis here. If we’re relating it to the show it’s essentially the banquet episode. That’s all the attention I’ll give it.
Find Your Grail
Ah yes, here we return to the joy and fun that Ted Lasso so perfectly fills us with. The Act One Finale of the Tony Winning musical based on the Monty Python movies is a perfectly uplifting spoof on so many shows and singers that had come before it. Not to mention it perfectly showcases the powerhouse vocals that so pleasantly surprised on the karaoke night where Rebecca started to get her groove back.
All that’s left to say at this point really is to say thank you for indulging my inner musical theater nerd and going on a mini version of my rabbit holes with me. Remember to lift others up as you journey on like Ted does, and to empower and support other women, like Rebecca and Keeley do with each other.
Believe, and, Be Like A Goldfish.
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