Onstage and Backstage: Why Did Kelli O’Hara’s South Pacific Bikini Cause Her Pain?

Seth Rudetsky   Onstage and Backstage: Why Did Kelli O’Hara’s South Pacific Bikini Cause Her Pain? This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Lisa Lampanelli joins SethSpeaks, Kelli O’Hara shares a terrible onstage mishap and Rachelle Rak shares a “memorable” moment with Ann Reinking.
Kelli O'Hara and Seth Rudetsky
Kelli O'Hara and Seth Rudetsky Joseph Marzullo/WENN

All right, people. I have never missed a week of writing this column since I began back in 2007! However, last week was quite possibly the busiest week I’ve ever had because of the Broadway For Orlando recording of “What the World Needs Now Is Love”. It was amazing but a lot of work! I will write all about it in my second column of the week. I’m so mortified that I missed last week’s column that I’m going to do two this week. Let me start this one with my Lisa Lampanelli interview on Seth Speaks, my SiriusXm talk show.

Lisa has a play coming to NYC called Stuffed that she wrote and is co-starring in! The Women’s Project Theater is producing it and it starts previews September 23rd. She completely surprised me by telling me that she stopped cursing. Really! She had a total foul mouth in her day, but her Dad always wanted her to act more lady like and never liked when she used bad words. He passed away a few years ago and, in honor of him, she hasn’t cursed since then. This part of the interview sounds totally dark but it was hilarious:

Me: You know, James never likes it when I curse. Maybe I’ll stop, too!
Lisa: And maybe James will die!

Hi-lar!

Lisa Lampanelli with Seth Rudetsky on <i>SethSpeaks</i>
Lisa Lampanelli with Seth Rudetsky on SethSpeaks Adam Riegler

She always says she’s an “equal opportunity” insult comic and told us that, because she used to be heavy, she’s allowed to make fat jokes. She is a huge supporter of gay rights and told everyone “Anyone who is totally anti-gay is as deep in the closet as Melissa McArthy’s workout clothes.” Brava!

Speaking of food issues, Andrea Martin and I are always talking about weight, weight loss, acting out with food etc. We never have a lot of food to munch on in our apartments because we’re nervous we’ll overeat. Sean Hayes and his super cute husband, Scotty Icenogle, came over to visit her while James and I were there, and he was hungry because it was after his show. (He’s starring in An Act of God.) He sent some texts that made me laugh so hard I was literally doubled over with tears in my eyes because it was so unbelievably accurate.
Here’s what he wrote:

Anything to eat there?”
Then: Let me guess: washers and screws?
Equal packets?
Empty paper cups for cupcakes?
Then he followed with the spot-on: Eight-week-old rice cakes
The answer was a resounding: YES.

I had a wonderful time with Kelli O’Hara in Philadelphia doing our first show together! I remembered that she was pregnant while she did South Pacific and remarked that it was just like Audra (who’s pregnant and doing Shuffle Along). She reminded me that it was a little different playing Nellie because she had to wear a bathing suit! Yikes! She said that when it got to be too obvious they changed her bikini into a one-piece.

Speaking of that bathing suit, it also was the point of origin for one of her worst onstage mishaps. One night she put it on as she always did, right before she sang “Wonderful Guy.” Suddenly, she was in crazy amounts of severe but intermittent pain. It was relentless! And it kept coming and going. What the hell was going on? Well, someone had altered her bottom piece…and left all the pins in it!!! She had to do an entire song with a ton of pins relentlessly sticking directly into her skin!

This is a different song, but it’s the infamous bikini. Imagine it filled to the brim with pins!

Speaking of onstage nachtmares, I was asked to do a press event to promote the partnership between Princess Cruise lines and Stephen Schwartz. He’s spearheading four new shows for them, and this one is dedicated to dance. Rachelle Rak (who’s now on Dance Moms) was one of the dancers highlighted and, during my interview with her, I asked her about her biggest injury. She told us about doing the Burt Bachrach/Hal David musical called The Look of Love. It was tech rehearsal and the great dancer/choreographer Ann Reinking was sitting in the audience on the so-called “God Mic” (the one directors use to talk from anywhere in the theatre and be heard overhead like the voice of God). Rachelle was doing her number on an elevator that rose up onstage. She stepped backwards…. and suddenly fell many feet to the stage! She completely passed out. Rachelle then told the part of the story I’m obsessed with: “So, I’m completely unconscious and lying in a heap. Finally, I start to wake up and the very, very first thing I hear is Ann Reinking over the God Mic say, (in Ann Reinking’s signature voice) ‘I fell once.’” Cannot stop quoting that! Here’s Rachelle doing some amazing Fosse in Fosse!

All right, stay tuned for my next column with the whole story behind Broadway For Orlando! In the meantime, watch the video below and buy the single here! BroadwayRecords.com

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