Onstage and Backstage: Seth Finds Out What Audra McDonald Misplaced...It’s a Doozy

Seth Rudetsky   Onstage and Backstage: Seth Finds Out What Audra McDonald Misplaced...It’s a Doozy
 
This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Seth plays concerts with Audra McDonald, Will Swenson and Gavin Creel—and gets some de-li-cious stories from each of the stars.
Seth Rudetsky and Audra McDonald
Seth Rudetsky and Audra McDonald Aubrey Reuben

Wah! It’s my summer 2016 last weekend in Provincetown. I’m on the porch of the lovely Anchor Inn, looking at Commercial Street, and I’m depressed I won’t be here again until next summer. The good news is the shows on Cape Cod went really week this week. First, Audra MacDonald, hubbie Will Swenson and I did a show in Provincetown and then hightailed it to Martha’s Vineyard for another one. Audra and I were comparing our ADD—whenever we’re rehearsing, we are also in the process of trying to find something we lost. Last year, I was panicking that I couldn’t find my license right when she realized she misplaced her passport. This year, we finished rehearsal, and I went to ride my bike back to the Anchor Inn to get my suit jacket because we were an hour away from the show starting. Well, thus followed 30 minutes of me trying to find my bike key. Pockets? No. On the ground near the bike? No. Still in the bike lock? On the piano? On the stage? In the dressing room? No. No. No. NO. I called Chris, who runs the Anchor Inn, and, thankfully, he found it on the lawn where I normally park my bike. Yay! Of course, during one of our next shows, I saw my room key lying around backstage and decided to be responsible and put it in my bag. After the show, I saw Will looking frustrated. Why? Well, he had left out his room key in a specific spot, and now it was missing. Oh. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed the room key I saw lying around was mine. I guess it was “fun” for him to be looking backstage during the entire time he wasn’t onstage. Anyhoo, I was commiserating with Will about being ADD just like Audra and he told me that she is, indeed, always losing things. He then told me something I made her admit onstage: Audra was mortified he told me, but she slowly ‘fessed up in public when pressed. “I mean,” she said, under duress, “I’m pretty certain I know where it is…but…yes…I… I recently misplaced one of my Tony Awards.” And therein lies the difference between us: I lose the key to my bike, she loses one of her Tony Awards.

Now I’m finishing out the summer with two Gavin Creel shows. James, Gavin and I went to see “Miss Richfield 1981,” who is a hilarious character that uses her beauty title (and year) as her name. She’s from Minnesota where, as she says, “Butter is a spice and gravy is a beverage.” She always talks about how much she loves it here in “Providencetown.” During the show, she talks to random people in the audience, and I loved that I got to see this happen on the night we saw it:

MISS RICHFIELD 1981: Hi! Where ya from?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Providence.
MISS RICHFIELD 1981: Oh! From here in town? Wonderful!

I love working with Gavin because his voice is so crazily stunning. He decided to start the show by and walking down the aisle and singing “As I We Never Said Goodbye.” I saw him backstage with a towel from the Anchor Inn and thought maybe it was to wipe sweat from his face, diva-style. Turns out it was for something diva-style, but not that. He came down the aisle singing that Sunset Boulevard song in sunglasses and a towel turban. Perfect! We were joking around during rehearsal and added the best homage to Patti LuPone at the end of the song…watch!

Gavin talked about his final call-back for Catch Me If You Can. Everyone had to sing “Goodbye,” the final song in the show. If you don’t know, it ends on a high B! Gavin said he went in, sang the song, and as he was singing the final notes, he also commented as well. It was (all sung)
Goodbye!!!!!! Why is this note so effing high!!!!!???!?!??!” He knew everyone behind the desk, and he thought they would find it hilarious. Turns out ….Silence. And Aaron Tveit got the role. Here he is nailing it! (It was thankfully changed to a B flat.)

Gavin and I went to see Varla Jean Merman’s show and we loved it. At one point, Varla was talking about the upcoming election and how some of the comments have made her raise an eyebrow…which she found amazing because she literally can’t raise her eyebrows. She then explained, “Um…I had a terrible accident.” And then added “…every four months.”

Onstage & Backstage_Seth Rudetsky August 29 2016
Gavin Creel, Varla Jean Merman and Seth

Speaking of Gavin, he introduced me to Sara Bareilles, who he took to see Disaster! a few months ago. I finally just saw Waitress with my niece, Eliana. Brava, Sara! What a great score!! And, OMG, the talent on that stage! Jessie Mueller is so natural, I love Jenna Ushkowitz’s voice, obsessed with Drew Gehling’s vocal placement, my Off-Broadway Disaster! star Charity Dawson getting so many laughs in her featured nurse role, so impressed by Chris Fitzgerald’s amazingly creative comedic choices. As for Keala Settle, I knew I’d love her hilariousness and singing. BUT I was most impressed with the fact that her character is always yelling, and it seemed like she always chose to yell on a high E or F. I told her after the show and she admitted to me it’s her way of warming up! Brilliant! Here’s one of my favorite Obsessed’s with Keala.

Look at us as during our visit!

Onstage & Backstage_Seth Rudetsky August 29 2016
Eliana on the Waitress stage.
Onstage & Backstage_Seth Rudetsky August 29 2016
Keala, Jenna, Eliana, Charity, Jessie and Seth

Note Keala and I have matching bevels.

The Disaster! cast album comes out September 9! You can pre-order it at BroadwayRecords.com. And we’re going to have an album release performance/show/signing at Barnes and Noble on Wednesday Sept 14 at 7 PM! Save the date! I was playing it for my sister, Nancy, last night and didn’t realized we listen with synchronized head movements. Watch, then peace out!

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