How Seth Rudetsky Calmed Hamilton’s Javier Muñoz at Gypsy of the Year

Seth Rudetsky   How Seth Rudetsky Calmed Hamilton’s Javier Muñoz at Gypsy of the Year
This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Seth shares how he quieted Muñoz’s nerves, reveals photos from Broadway celebrity game night, and more.
Javier Muñoz Monica Simoes

Hello from Chicago! Not only am I in the city, but I will be playing the signature song from the show Chicago tonight! Yes, I’m performing with the amazing Chita Rivera at Steppenwolf and I’m very excited. She was the opening number at our Chicago Concert For America and the crowd went crazy—so I think this is her town. Last week was Gypsy of the Year and it was my tenth time hosting! I shared a dressing room with Javier Muñoz who plays the title role in Hamilton and he told me that he was going to do the “Moment of Silence” segment where we honor those who have passed away from AIDS. Judith Light has been a regular every year, but this year she was filming and couldn’t make it. Javier was very happy to do it but also nervous. He felt it was a big responsibility and he wanted to do it right.

Well, I calmed him down by mentioning what I had done one year…here’s the direct recap from my column in 2011:

Judith Light Monica Simoes

All of the performances were introduced by me or by a voiceover. Well, halfway through the show, right after one of the numbers ended, I didn't hear a voiceover, so I ran onstage to introduce How to Succeed. In the middle, I heard noise from offstage. I turned to glare and then saw it was [BC/EFA executive director] Tom Viola in the wings, motioning me stage right. Ah! I remembered that there were a few intros I was supposed to do away from center stage in order for the crew to set props. So, I moved to the right and continued my intro. Then I heard more noise. I’d had it. Right before I hauled out my supersonic glare, I saw that I wasn’t being told to go stage right, I was actually being told to get off the stage.

That’s right, I wasn’t supposed to be introducing How to Succeed at all. I had come out at the wrong time. And not only did I come out at the wrong time, but the moment I upstaged was Judith Light’s incredibly moving introduction of the moment of silence. That’s right. The one truly somber and tender moment in the whole show began with me a.) babbling center stage, b.) babbling stage right and then c.) babbling as I fled the stage. As I clanked my way offstage, a regal and glorious Judith Light entered the stage and gave her impassioned and moving speech that led to the moment of silence. The only reason I wasn’t 100 percent mortified about my onstage clunkery is because I remembered that Daniel Radcliffe is now on Broadway and I hoped he somehow put a forgetting spell on all the muggles in the audience.


I told Javi that me coming out during the moment of silence actually happened two different years and that definitely relaxed him. And/or made him think I am extremely unprofessional.

Gypsy of the Year is always so fun to do and this year I not only did my deconstructions, but I also joined the Chicago segment. I sat at a keyboard surrounded by Bianca Marroquín, Brian O’Brien, and Leigh Zimmerman who were sipping champagne. Why champagne? Because they just turned 21 and were finally “legal.” Yes, Chicago has now been running for 21 years (!) and Leigh was actually part of the opening night cast of this revival! She said that the whole theatre had to evacuate because there was a bomb scare! Everyone was on the street…actors and audience…and she saw John Kander, the composer. Leigh said John told her that back in the ’70s, on the original production’s opening night, they also had to stop the show because Chita got stuck in the elevator! He said it was a good omen that there was another giant mishap on opening night in the same theatre.

Chicago Evan Zimmerman

Well, the show finally began and when Joel Grey, as Amos Hart, sang, “If someone in a movie show yelled ‘Fire! In the second row! This whole place is a powder keg!” and the audience went crazy. Leigh said they didn’t stop cheering and the show felt charmed…hence, 21 years and still counting!

Brian remembered a less classy mishap. In the Act 2 courtroom scene, Roxie demonstrates how she shot Fred Casely and the ensemble reacts.
ROXIE: I closed me eyes and I fired. BANG! BANG! BANG!
ENSEMBLE: (low and sexy) Hey…
Well, one of the ensemble ladies had a mic that broke so she went offstage to get a new one. She didn’t want to come on during the scene so she quickly went to the bathroom. If you don’t know, the sound people turn on your mic around 2 seconds before your line…and if you’re offstage one night, the mic still goes on. This is how the scene worked that night.
ROXIE: I closed me eyes and I fired. BANG! BANG! BANG!
ENSEMBLE: (low and sexy) Hey…
Brian said the audience was like “Wow. A flush sound effect. Obviously a metaphor of the entire justice system. Brilliant!”

After starting the week off with Gypsy of the Year, I spent the weekend in L.A. because a fancy guy saw me do some deconstructing at Judd Apatow’s show at Largo in L.A. He flew me, James, and Juli out on his private jet (!) and put us up in amazing luxury. Then I did deconstructing at his house for his business friends. I had the best time! More importantly, Juli cut her own bangs. Look!

Seth Rudetsky column 12.11.17
Seth Rudetsky and Juli Wesley Courtesy Seth Rudetsky

We also had a game night with Kevin Chamberlin, Ana Gasteyer, and Camryn Manheim. Camryn’s teenage son just filmed Zombies , a big Disney channel movie musical and he plays lead. And he has the coolest name: Milo Manheim. Ana is in L.A. because she’s in the upcoming A Christmas Story Live TV musical, which airs December 17. And good news for my fellow Jews, the composing team of Pasek and Paul have written a new song for the TV version for Ana to sing and it’s all about Hanukkah! And Kevin Chamberlin is moving back to NYC to do some shows, but I don’t think I’m allowed to say what they are. But suffice it to say…it involves acting and singing!

Here’s my selfie from game night:

Seth Rudetsky column 12.11.17
Kevin Chamberlin, Juli Wesley, James Wesley, Camryn Manheim, Jack Plotnick, Ana Gasteyer, Seth Rudetsky Courtesy Seth Rudetsky

And here’s the shot where I told everyone to do a theatrical pose. Most people went showbiz broad, Juli chose “fearful,” and Ana cemented her status as character actress emeritus.

Seth Rudetsky column 12.11.17
Top: James Wesley, Camryn Manheim, Jack Plotnick
Bottom: Kevin Chamberlin, Juli Wesley, Ana Gasteyer Courtesy Seth Rudetsky

If you need some holiday presents, I remind you that my newest book, Seth’s Broadway Diary Volume Three, is available in an autographed version here.

Peace out!

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