Riverdale Star Casey Cott Travels #OutOfOz to Sing Stripped-Down Wicked Duet
The 25-year-old actor, who plays Kevin on the hit CW show, has lent his voice to the latest installment of #OutOfOz: Wicked Studio Sessions video series — and PEOPLE has the exclusive premiere.
Cott follows the path of a string of stars like Jennifer Nettles, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and Aaron Tveit, all of whom have appeared in the popular YouTube series. Its purpose? To reinvent songs from Stephen Schwartz’s hit musical Wicked in new and contemporary ways.
Joining Cott in the clip is actress Jackie Burns, who wraps up her record-breaking run as Elphaba in the Broadway company on Saturday.
This time, she tackles “Dancing Through Life” — a song typically sung by Elphaba’s love interest Fiyero — while he sings Elphaba’s iconic “The Wizard and I” in a gritty, bare bones duet with guitar-only orchestrations arranged by Ric Molina and Paul Loesel.
It was a sentimental moment for Cott. After all, Wicked was the first Broadway show he ever saw, when he was in seventh grade.
“I’ve always loved Wicked,” he tells PEOPLE. “It’s one of my little obsessions. I loved every song — I mean, Stephen Schwartz is a genius. I’m lucky. It’s an honor to sing this.”
Singing “The Wizard and I” was scary, though.
“It’s probably my favorite song in that show, just because it encompasses the anticipation about what’s to come in life,” he says. “That’s one of my favorite things to play as an actor. But yeah, it was definitely a little intimidating — especially when I looked over at the girl who sings it 8 times a week.”
Adding to the trouble? The fact that Cott had strep throat.
“What a fiasco,” he says. “If you know it, you can kind of hear that there’s a giant tonsil thing happening. I think it’s time to get them out. But luckily, the doctors hooked me up and I powered through.”
Burns was there for support, too. “She was very gracious and kind, and made me feel warm and welcome,” Cott says. “And I’m a big fan of Jackie’s voice. She’s incredible.”
She had equally kind things to say about working with the television star. “He’s so easy to work with,” she says. “I, funnily enough, met him a week before I started back in Wicked last July at a friend’s karaoke party and we sang “As Long as You’re Mine” together. So, it’s hilarious to have done this with him at the end of my contract, a year later.”
The actress, 37, also enjoyed sinking her teeth into a new song. “I like the idea of something stranger than usual that no one has thought of before,” she says. “[These songs] go together so cohesively. They create a nice call and response. Plus, it’s fun to sing a song I don’t sing in the show.”
Ultimately, the song gave Burns the perfect goodbye to Wicked.
“When I graduated college and moved to New York City, the first show I saw with my parents was Wicked,” she explains. “I was beyond awestruck, and dreamt of playing Elphaba one day. To now hold the title of Broadway’s longest-running Elphaba is a testament to the saying ‘dreams really do come true.’ And to be a part of a show that brings so much joy to so many people worldwide is a hugely humbling honor.”
RELATED VIDEO: Riverdale‘s Casey Cott on the Possibility of More Musical Episodes: ‘It’s Gonna Keep Happening!’
As for Cott, he’s back on the set filming Riverdale‘s third season, which will premiere on the CW this fall.
Don’t worry, though — he won’t be putting away his pipes just yet. Asked if Kevin will have the chance to sing this season, Cott tells PEOPLE, “I can say with pretty strong certainty, yes.”
“There is an storyline coming up with Kevin and Josie,” he reveals. “The musical extent of that, I don’t know. But I believe there’s some musical moments coming up from Kevin this season. I’m not sure the capacity. I’m pushing, not only for another musical episode, but a song between Josie and Kevin. Hopefully after this #OutOfOz thing drops, the writers will have no choice!”