When production wrapped on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Gabrielle Ruiz raised a champagne flute to the fictional character she’d portrayed for four seasons and said to herself, “this is it: the very last time I’ll be Valencia.” Only, it wasn’t.
The actress has slipped back into her Valencia persona several times since the Rachel Bloom-fronted series ended earlier this year for the touring “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Live” show, which included a Netflix special in March.
But when the production hits Radio City Music Hall this week, it’s possible she’ll be saying a last goodbye to her West Covina character.
“It’s absolutely exhausting to keep saying goodbye and hello again!” Ruiz, 30, says, adding that portraying Valencia is “a dream.” “The fact that I get to, I think, maybe, say goodbye in New York City feels like a great homecoming.”
Though series creator and star Rachel Bloom has made public her hopes to keep “Crazy Ex” touring for the rest of her life (literally), Radio City Music Hall is the last and only live concert currently scheduled.
“Maybe I’ll do a kick. Since I’m there, and I’m not tall enough to be a Rockette, this is my chance,” Ruiz jokes of giving her character an NYC-style send-off.
The “Crazy Ex” tour that brings the TV-meets-musical series to life onstage comes to the city again after making its debut last April. The actress, however, says this new, post-finale incarnation is far from the same as anything we’ve seen before.
“There will definitely be updates on song choices and due to the fact that we improvise conversations onstage and bring people out, no two shows are ever the same.”
Much of the cast, including Donna Lynne Champlin (Paula), is set to return to their roles for the show that feels like a stand-up show, theatrical production and concert rolled into one. The cast is expected to perform fan-favorite songs from the series, like “Friendtopia,” “Love Kernels,” and Ruiz’s favorite, “Women Gotta Stick Together.”
Bloom will serve as the MC of the evening, as usual, feeding off audience interaction.
“It’s very, very unique live show,” she says. “We kind of just decide what we want to do based on how many people are there and how much time we have … It’s a really fun moment to get to be Valencia with the fans. They love it!”
Though the NYC show is the group’s last scheduled to date, Ruiz says she has a feeling she’ll see the cast again in the future. “Our text group is real strong. Maybe we’ll do something in July. I have to treat it like it’s the energy and attitude of family. We’ll see each other again.”
Ruiz on Valencia’s on-screen evolution
When we first met Valencia Perez, she was the villain. She was the perfectly primped girlfriend of Rebecca Bunch’s dreamy Josh Chan. But throughout four seasons, she was given the chance to become so much more.
She was welcomed as a member of the “Gurl Group,” explored her own sexuality, became a yoga instructor and helped Rebecca seek revenge on Josh. Her character’s internal conflicts gave her a platform to contribute to the series’ larger conversation on mental health, as she struggled with her weight and social anxiety.
And it’s these points, Ruiz says, that make it that much harder to say goodbye.
“On a personal level, in relating to Valencia, it wasn’t specifically talked about but she did have an eating disorder,” Ruiz says. “It was kind of more of a joke, but for her and for me it was a very personal matter … I was very proud of her to find happiness in food and friends.
“And other things in her arc, like falling in love, period, whether it be a woman or not, that I think was brilliantly done.”
‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Live Starring: Rachel Bloom’ is at Radio City Music Hall 8 p.m. Tuesday and 9 p.m. Wednesday, 1260 Sixth Ave., ticketmaster.com.