Gabrielle Ruiz talks Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Broadway, and playing Valencia


The end of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is here and we talked to Gabrielle Ruiz about her character, Valencia, her Broadway past, and the show Smash.

For many, this last season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is bittersweet because it is a nice sendoff to the show, but we don’t want to say goodbye to our favorite characters. Talking with Gabrielle Ruiz, who brings Valencia to life on the show, one thing is clear: The cast loves this show as much as we do!

Getting to talk with Ruiz was a wonderful experience because I, myself, have been a fan from the start. I’ve grown with Rebecca and these characters, and to see it all come to an end is hard. But it is fun to go back and look through the characters and their growth.

Ruiz spoke about the growth that Valencia experienced throughout the show and how she felt about watching her go from Rebecca’s frenemy to one of her most trusted friends.

“The amount of squealing that occurred on set every season for Valencia was just so much joy, and I always say the universe’s plans are so much more fun than mine,” Ruiz says. “I had no idea that two episodes as a guest star in season 1 would be what it is today for Valencia.”

What is exciting for us as an audience is that we get to see the final product, just what their hard work leads to. But if you know the world of musical theater, you know the amount of effort just one dance number takes, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend typically has three in each episode. Lucky for the show, Ruiz is a pro and a Broadway alumna — which makes acting in the show all the more fun.

“When we, as a cast, get to do big dance numbers together, the whole process is my favorite,” Ruiz enthuses.

The thing, though, is that if you get Broadway nerds talking to each other, the conversation is either going to get extremely nerdy, or we’re going to rant about things. Ruiz and I ended up ranting about the show Smash or, more importantly, why she had a problem with the pilot.

“When I saw the pilot of Smash, it did not portray the Broadway I am a part of,” she says, particularly laughing off the unrealistic portrayal of competition in Smash  a wonderful show that only had two seasons but, at the time, was a weird marrying of the niche Broadway world and a typical NBC drama. I brought up Smash because Crazy Ex-Girlfriend managed to bring together the idea of musical television and very real and honest characters in a way that Smash and Glee didn’t.

But that comes from the show’s creative team. Throughout the entire interview, Ruiz continued to praise co-creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, and of course, the praise is well deserved. I’ve met Rachel Bloom and was instantly inspired by her generosity and willingness to talk to anyone and everyone about musicals, her show, and whatever other issues may arise. The fact that the same dedication to those around her applies to her work ethic and the show isn’t surprising.

Ruiz talked about the ability the show has of carrying a joke throughout a song without making it seem like a cheap shot or just a throwaway, saying, “I think because the story comes first.”

That’s the beauty of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s about Rebecca Bunch’s journey through life, love, and friendship in West Covina and all those who help her along the way. It isn’t filled with cheap jokes or things that none of us want to go back to. If anything, we want to listen again and again to the songs over and over again because they manage to give us a storyline within the show but also separate from it.

Even though we love these characters and want them to be around forever, the show is coming to an end, and that means that we’ll have to say goodbye to Valencia. When I asked Ruiz about what she hoped Valencia continued to learn, she said: “I do hope that she continues to learn to lean on the people she trusts. She has definitely surrounded herself by people who lift her up.”

Don’t worry, though, Gabrielle Ruiz doesn’t have too much time to be sad about the show ending — especially since the cast has had to see each other constantly because we’re getting a live show finale as well as shows in New York City.

“You know, people ask if I’m sad, and I keep saying ‘yes,'” Ruiz mentions. “However, there’s no time to be sad because we wrapped the final episode of the characters in early February. And then, that day, when we were all on set celebrating [the] wrap, we all said ‘Okay, see you in a month’ because we still had to shoot the live show.”

At the end of the day, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is an extremely special show that means the world to me, audiences everywhere and, very clearly, this cast. Why? Ruiz puts it simply, “It comes from Rachel’s heart.”

Next. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Rebecca still has to make a decision. dark

Make sure to tune in this Friday for the finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.