Riverdale returned from a month-long hiatus tonight, and it's safe to say that it did so at just the right time. The CW series came back to our television screens with a very special installment, in the form of its third-annual musical episode. After previously taking on Carrie and Heathers, the teens of Riverdale High embraced the world of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the beloved queer musical-turned-Hollywood film from John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. At the center of the episode was Kevin Keller (Casey Cott), who brought the student body together after being told by Mr. Honey (Kerr Smith) that he wouldn't be able to perform a number from the musical during the school's variety show.
The episode, "Chapter Seventy-Four: Wicked Little Town" was surprising, emotional, and weirdly hopeful, and probably put a song in the hearts of many of the show's fans, especially in these uncertain times. In celebration of tonight's musical episode, we chatted with Cott about "Wicked Little Town", and how it serves as a turning point for Kevin as a character. In the process, we talked about Season 4's competitive endurance tickling plotline, Kevin's upcoming crossover with Katy Keene, and more!
New Side of Kevin
ComicBook.com: Kevin has been a constant in Riverdale's previous musical episodes, but he obviously takes on a completely different role in this one. How did it feel to play that, and have Kevin be at the center of this episode?
Casey Cott: Yeah! You know, it was really fun. I keep saying, it's kind of like an explosion for Kevin to really stop moping around, and really attack what he wants and show this new side of Kevin. Hopefully, it sticks and he just kind of keeps going for it.
Was there a number in this year's episode that was your favorite?
I really liked "Tear Me Down". I thought that was fun. And then the finale, on top of Pop's, was really cool. Those are probably two of my favorites. The whole town being there for the finale was really crazy. Yeah, I'd probably say those two that I was a part of.
The World of Hedwig
Were you familiar with Hedwig before shooting this episode or was it something that you dove into after the fact?
No, I was pretty familiar with it. I had seen it on Broadway and I had seen the movie. So I was familiar with it. But you know, it's a whole new sense of familiarity once you get that costume on. Once I got the costume on, I felt like I was locked in and ready to go. Once we got the hair and makeup done it was kind of off to the races.
It feels kind of perfect that this is the first episode back after being away for so long, because it's so hopeful and feels like a nice break from everything going on. What do you hope viewers take away from watching the episode?
I hope they take away exactly what you just said. I think it was a joy to shoot. It's almost like this weirdly standalone episode throughout the season. It's like kind of its own unique little thing. I think it's a perfect time for this to come out, and I hope everyone tunes in and just has fun. I'm hoping that they feel united and excited to get through this thing and we'll all get through it together.
What can you tease about what the rest of this season holds for Kevin?
Kevin's got some monsters in the closet he's got to deal with. Specifically, the tickle situation comes back. So we'll be dealing with that. Then after that, the kids got to go to prom, which is exciting. We'll see what happens from thereon.
I actually wanted to ask about the tickling plotline in particular. I've seen the Tickled documentary, and one of my favorite podcasts did an episode about the real story behind it. As soon as I saw it being weaved into the show, it was kind of like, "Oh my gosh." It was very surprising.
Yeah, it's crazy.
What has it been like to have that storyline, and deal with the actual story behind it?
Obviously, it was pretty nutso. I'm just one of those actors who is trained to kind of -- whatever you get, you just churn it out and make it the best you can. When I got this storyline, I was like, "This is crazy." And then we all watched Tickled, the HBO documentary and realized this is a real thing.
I think it's something that a person like Kevin would totally get caught up in. I've honestly thoroughly enjoyed the plotline. I think it's super weird. Riverdale is super weird and I think it's great. I think it's a great mesh of plotline for Riverdale and I've loved it. While it's super strange, and there are moments of "This is so weird." -- I don't know why, but I feel like that's what you should be feeling like when you're an actor. You should feel uncomfortable -- not should, but it's good to feel that every once in a while. I've really enjoyed it.
Given Kevin's connection to Josie, it seems kind of like a logical step to have Kevin hang out with the Katy Keene crew. Is there anything you can tease in that regard?
Luckily, since our shows are in the same universe, we can have characters pop back and forth. I'm definitely on Riverdale and that's where I want to be, but I do love hopping. I definitely will hop over there anytime they'll have me. I think that that group of actors are incredible. I had a blast while I was over there, and whenever the phone rings to head over there for an episode, I'll gladly come to New York city and shoot. It's amazing.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.