Onstage and Backstage: A Surprise from Sara Bareilles

Seth Rudetsky   Onstage and Backstage: A Brand New Deconstruction and A Surprise from Sara Bareilles This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Seth unveils a new “Broadway for Orlando” deconstruction, tells the hilarious story of planning James’ birthday and shares a behind-the-scenes video of Sara Bareilles singing an acoustic version of her “Brave.”
Seth Rudetsky, Sara Bareilles, James Wesley and Van Dean before the rehearsal for Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
Seth Rudetsky, Sara Bareilles, James Wesley and Van Dean before the rehearsal for Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular Courtesy of Seth Rudetsky

Hello from beautiful Provincetown! I’m starting the concert series I do here (produced by my friend, Mark Cortale) with Vanessa Williams and next week I’m back with Adam Pascal. What’s special about this summer is we’ve now added Martha’s Vineyard to the series! I’ve never gone before and, OMG, it is so easy to get to. It’s literally a one hour from JFK to Martha’s Vineyard. Who knew? And, boy, is it pretty. We’re being sponsored by the stunning Harbor View Hotel and the name is literal. It has one of the delicious New England wraparouns porches with lots of signature Cape Cod chairs and this is the beautiful view.

Harbor View
Harbor View

P.S. You’ll notice it’s completely cloudy. What you can’t tell from the photo is that the island is super wealthy and the weather was completely freezing. I had to hightail it to a nearby clothing shop to buy a sweatshirt. And it was only double the price of what I pay in New York! Come see me and Megan Hilty in Martha’s Vineyard Saturday, July 16 and Adam Pascal and I in Ptown Monday, July 18! Full schedule at MarkCortalePresents.com.

There’s still stuff I haven’t written about from weeks ago! First of all, when the Broadway For Orlando “What The World Needs Now Is Love” was first released, I told my Mom we were on iTunes. FYI, she is completely computer un-savvy and thinks all actions related to a computer can be summed up in the word “download” (i.e. When she couldn’t print out my Playbill column to read it she told me, “Our printer is broken so I can’t download your article.”) Anyhoo, when I mentioned iTunes she told me, “I hope it comes out on a CD so I can hear it.” My immediately reaction was to shriek, “We are not making a CD!” Then I thought, “Wait…why don’t we make a CD?” Anyhoo, Robbie Rozelle who designed the beautiful logo for “Broadway For Orlando” was able to print it on the actual CD, and he put together a fabulous photo montage for the inside of the packaging. Get one at BroadwayRecords.com!

And I’ve finally done a new deconstruction! You can watch me deconstruct all the amazing singing and give inside scoop on the recording session here:

Right after the song came out, Bob Greenblatt and Lorne Michaels from NBC asked us to perform it on Maya And Marty. It was very fun rehearsing because Martin Short kept being hilarious. We’d all be chattering and he would stand in front of everyone and suddenly belt out “WHEN I GO-O-O-O-O!!!!!!!” Everyone would stop, look at him and he’d then add: “….I’M GOING LIKE ELSIE…!”. Brava! Here’s the video from that appearance:

Last week was James’ birthday, and I decided to throw him a little surprise party. James’ mom, Elizabeth, told me she’d cook for everyone. First, I planned on making it really big with tons of people and and all our families, but many folks were out of town, so I thought I’d keep it small. I texted back and forth with James’ mom about what kind of food to make, time of the party etc. Cut to, three days before the party she arrived at our apartment and, in front of James, subtly carried in three platters of food. I told James his mom was carrying some of his gifts she was going to give him on his birthday, but I knew he didn’t believe me—specifically because later that night he said, “I know you and my mom are planning something for my birthday so maybe we should put the dogs in doggie day care so they don’t jump on the guests.” Wonderful. I then told him we were planning something so she made a lot of food but because everyone was out of town, it was canceled. For some reason, he bought it.

Finally, it was the night before his birthday and I had to solidify how Elizabeth was going to cook all the main food for the party. I texted her the plan: James would leave the house around 3PM, but if she came early and he happened to see her with food, she should say she was simply cooking a fun birthday dinner for me, James and Juli. I wrote that James would come back around 5PM and by then I’d have his friends at the apartment, and we’d completely surprise him! I sent the text to Elizabeth…and instead it went to James! That’s right, he got the text with every single detail spelled out about his surprise party. If you have an iPhone, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes it will randomly send your text to someone you’ve been texting with instead of the person you want to have the text. I had a complete breakdown and Juli kept saying “Maybe he hasn’t read the text.” I was like “Juli! That’s magical thinking! Of course he’s read it! The party is ruined!!!’ Cut to, I called him, mentioned the text and he told me he’d been on the phone for the last ten minutes and hadn’t read it! I immediately told him to not read it because it was about his birthday gifts, we met up, and I erased it. Phew! Problem solved.

Cut to, the next day, I told him to come home at 5PM because his Mom was cooking him a favorite meal, and she didn’t want him to know what it was. I told everyone to come at 4:30. Well, instead of waiting til 5, which he’d been instructed to do, he dropped Juli off at the apartment at 4:30. Excellent. Jennifer Simard had arrived at 4:28 but because she knows I hate when people come early she waited directly outside our apartment building. So when James dropped off Juli, he saw Jennifer Simard waiting in front of our building dressed in what can only be described as literally a “party dress.”

James and his mom, Elizabeth, and Jennifer Simard
James and his mom, Elizabeth, and Jennifer Simard

I can’t take it! She came in and told me James probably saw her so I decided to “own it” and texted him that Jennifer had shown up because I forgot to tell her the party was canceled. Of course, he hadn’t actually seen her so my preemptive move was unnecessary. By the time he showed up (at 5:15 because he was waiting for me to text him and say to come at 5…even though I told him to come at 5) and we yelled “Surprise” I vowed to never, ever plan something like this again.

James with his gifts
James with his gifts

And finally, Sara Bareilles sang an amazing version of “What The World Needs Now” for the Macy’s NBC Fourth of July special. Watch!

Read the full (hilarious) chat between Sara and Seth.

We were at the filming, and after she sang (amazingly) she told the crowd she felt bad they gathered for just one song. She then said she was going to sing an “impromptu” song. Then she said the word “impromptu” again and told the audience she had meant to say she was gonna do some “comedy improv,” which I thought was hilarious. Anyhoo, she sat at the piano and played and sang a great acoustic version of “Brave.” I filmed some of it. So fantastic!!!

And for those of you that need some summer beach reading, all of my books are right here! I suggest getting my series about Justin Goldblatt because not only are they light as in fun-nee, they’re lightweight and will fit right into your beach bag!

Seth Rudetsky’s Books