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Rachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My Show

Rachel Bloom in Death, Let Me Do My Show. Photos by Emilio Madrid

Rachel Bloom returns to the stage with her new piece, Death, Let Me Do My Show, in which she confronts mortality in the wake of the personal and global loss in 2020.

2020 was a challenging year for everyone. Bloom had it particularly hard: giving birth to a baby in March 2020 who was admitted to the NICU, losing her writing partner to COVID-19, and several other people in her circle passing away around the same time. In this show, Bloom processes and unpacks these losses and tries to find how she can still live in this world knowing death is ever present.

Proceed with caution because from here on out, the review will spoil the fun twists and turns in the show.

Bloom starts the play with a lighthearted joke about the pandemic, stating the show is markedly not a show about Covid. She says she originally wrote this show in 2019 and wants us all to live it up tonight like it's still 2019. She then launches into a funny song about "trees that smell like cum”. Bloom writes Death in as a character in the show and has him confronting her fun. First appearing as a heckler whom Rachel calls out for interrupting the performance, Death then introduces himself and insists that Rachel talk about him. Death, played by Bloom's former Crazy Ex-Girlfriend costar, David Hull, appears throughout the show to comment on Bloom's performance and later performs a hilarious solo and participates in the duet that closes the show.

Bloom is so clever in utilizing this personification. The device creates a physical representation of something so scary and vast it is hard to actualize while also creating moments wherein Bloom can't ignore the topic of death and is continually interrupted by it. As Death's involvement increases throughout the show, the audience sees a physicalization of Bloom's acceptance of death and willingness to address it. On top of the intelligent dramaturgy of this device, the reveal of Hull in the audience and his involvement as the character of death creates fun twists and unexpected gags in the show. Bloom's writing is smart in personifying death and weaving together the silly with the serious. Even the jokes about cum trees come full circle in the end so that a joke that came out of seemingly nowhere in the beginning, at the end of the show, is reintroduced alongside other callbacks to create a cohesive feeling finale.

This script is genre-defying in a way that feels refreshing and serves the performer. Bloom combines aspects of musical theatre, stand-up comedy and more to explore the theatrical form. She even makes several meta commentaries about the show, talking about breaking the fourth wall, theatre magic and the guise of it all. In the performance I attended, a technical mishap occurred, which Bloom acknowledged in the show and was able to roll with and not get completely thrown off. I wondered if the mishap was supposed to happen; Bloom handled it so well. This tour de force performer is known for her work on television and yet, she transfers these talents effortlessly to the stage. Her crowd work and stage presence make her magnetic, exciting and funny. She capitalizes on her musical comedian skills while still pushing herself artistically and creating a play totally unique from anything else.

The set design and technical aspects utilized in this show are top-notch. Beowulf Boritt's design involves a big red curtain and a light-up sign saying "Rachel Bloom," both of which are "struck down" by Death, revealing the orchestra behind the curtain. The show also features projections by Hana S. Kim and Lighting by Aaron Copp, which help sell the show's comedy. My favorite moment of this comes in a song about "the rainbow road" where the lighting creates rainbows on the walls and bounces light off Bloom's glittery costume to create rainbows while projections of art about rainbow road show behind Bloom. Moments like these make visually stunning, complex, and engaging stage pictures, greatly elevating the production value.

Death, Let Me Do My Show delivers the wittily crass musical comedy Bloom is known for with an undertow of vulnerable reflection and processing of grief. Bloom has bounced back from great personal and artistic loss with a beautiful, touching, hilarious and profoundly human show.

"Rachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My Show"

Written and performed by Rachel Bloom

Directed by Seth Barrish

December 6, 2023 - January 2, 2024

Orpheum Theatre (126 2nd Ave, NYC)


Carmen! is a trans-multimedia artist specializing in playwriting, acting and crochet. Originally from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, they are currently based in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, returning to their Atlantic Oceanic roots. Their play Taking the Plunge has been performed at the Tank and the Chain off-Broadway and in the 2023 Fresh Fruit Festival slated this June. Carmen has also worked in front-of-house and technical positions for prominent theater organizations including New Dramatists, Portland Playhouse, Emursive and Future Proof. Carmen’s mission is to use play to create meaningful representation by and for underrepresented communities. For more information on Carmen! Follow them on socials @carmenacetosociety or check out


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