Onstage & Backstage: Jet-Setting With Andrea Martin and When Was Jeremy Jordan Cougar Bait?

Seth Rudetsky   Onstage & Backstage: Jet-Setting With Andrea Martin and When Was Jeremy Jordan Cougar Bait? A week in the life of actor, radio and TV host, music director and writer Seth Rudetsky.
Andrea Martin
Andrea Martin Photo by Monica Simoes

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The traveling continues; I'm in New York, just got back from San Diego and I'm about to go to Puerto Rico! First of all, I was in San Diego because the Human Dignity Foundation was having their annual gala, and they hired Andrea Martin to be the entertainment. I played for her/did some interviewing, and the show went great. Andrea and I flew into L.A. where I saw my friend Jack Plotnick and we all traveled from L.A. to San Diego on Amtrak.

Of course, Andrea was hilarious on the trip down and regaled us with the story of the unintentionally devastating flight attendant who approached her on the flight to the West Coast.

Flight Attendant: Mrs. Prickley? (referencing her "SCTV" character Edith Prickley)
Andrea: (flattered) Yes?
Flight Attendant: I knew it was you! I'm a fan but, boy, my co-worker had no idea who you were.
Andrea: Oh…
Flight Attendant: (mystified) So… are you still working?
Andrea: (mortified) Yes, I am.
Flight Attendant: (nodding knowingly) Little things… here and there?
Andrea: (slightly defensive) Actually, I just wrote a book published by Harper Collins.
Flight Attendant: (Silence)
Andrea: And I just finished doing Pippin, for which I won the Tony Award.
Flight Attendant: Oh…
Andrea: (deciding to take the high road) Well, thanks for coming over
Flight Attendant: I had to! I told my co-worker, 'That's Andrea Martin! You have to know her! She was famous in the '80's.'"

Seth and his dad in San Diego
Seth and his dad in San Diego

Anyhoo, in San Diego, I had time to visit with my dad and his wife, Gloria, who live in Palm Desert but have a boat in San Diego Bay. The first part of the day was super fun; we went to an outdoor flea market and had an amazing meal at a veggie restaurant called "Native Food." Then we got on my dad's lovely sailboat to relax for a bit. I was a nervous wreck getting on the boat, because these kind of boats don't have gangplanks; you climb from the dock onto the boat, holding onto to whatever you can grab. Anyhoo, after a while enjoying the sun, we had to leave because I had Andrea Martin tech rehearsal. I got off the boat with Jack helping me because I was nervous I'd fall. I saw my Dad start to get off and asked him if he needed help. My Dad, who is 83, haughtily said "No." Literally one second later, he tripped off the boat, landed on the dock, bounced (!), fell completely off the dock and became submerged in the bay. It was terrifying! He didn't surface right away, and Jack and I realized later he must have been under water for a bit of time because Jack had enough time to take off his backpack (thinking he was going to have to jump in to save him). Well, my Dad finally surfaced, looking frazzled but OK, and I held on to him. But there was no way for him to get back on the dock because there are no ladders in the water. We were going to pull him up, but he just had shoulder surgery so he was nervous we were going to pop his socket out (!). A big group of fellow sailors came by and, thankfully, picked him under his arms and got him on dry land.

The great part is, he's totally fine. He didn't injure himself at all. He realized later that he tripped because had forgotten to put away this little of the boat that hangs off the side (like a buoy) and it made the boat bounce backwards when he grabbed a rope to get off. However, he was packed and ready to drive me to rehearsal when he got off the boat; So, not only was he completely submerged fully clothed, but he summed it up best when he sent me a cartoon drawing today of a man waving his arms in the water with the added caption: Do not swim in polluted waters fully dressed wearing hearing aids while carrying a bag filled with an iPhone, digital camera and 83 years of water soluble ID's. It was a nachtmare. None of his electronics work anymore, but the good news is, he wound up completely uninjured. And I was able to wallow in my signature "I told you so" comfort zone by continually repeating, "I asked you if you needed help and you said, 'No.'"

With Jack in front of Seth's dad's boat
With Jack in front of Seth's dad's boat

Last week, I had a great "Seth Speaks" at Sirius. First I had the Broadway Boys who are touring with their holiday concert (and have a CD also. Info for everything at BwayBoys.com). They did a great Christmas song and then followed it with a Hanukkah song. Let me just say when I was in Hebrew School I never thought I'd hear "Baruch atah etc" sung with more riffs than an open call for West Side Story. It was great! Anyhoo, I asked them about audition/onstage mishaps and Adam Halpin told us about auditioning for the role of Spike in Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike. That's the character who's incredibly hyper and almost nude for the whole show. Well, Adam went in to read with an actress trying out for one of the other roles and the scene they were reading began with him taking off some clothes and acting wild. The were told to begin so Adam began stripping and running around the room. The actress, however, didn't say her first line. So Adam kept up his craziness; he got more and more wild and more and more clothes were strewn off of him. Even though he was half naked, she still didn't say her line! Finally, the casting director quietly informed Adam they were actually doing the other scene. The one where he remains in his clothes. Spoiler alert: he didn't get the part.

Then I had Anika Larsen from Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on the show and she told us that months ago, a record producer came to see her in the show and asked her afterwards if she'd be interested in making an album. She informed us that since she's one of 10 children (!) she's always had issues with attention. She craves it yet is incredibly uncomfortable with it. So she got excited about the idea of an album and counteracted it by immediately said no. She hated the thought of an entire album of just her singing. She thought, "Why? Why would anyone want to hear just me singing a bunch of songs (despite that fact that she has an amazing voice. See proof from the original production of Zanna, Don't). Regardless, she was then thinking about her many years of babysitting (which she often did ever since college to make money) and she thought about her nieces and nephews and how she always sings them to sleep. She then thought "That's it!" An album of just her singing would be pointless (according to her) but one with a purpose would be great! So, she called the producer and told him she'd like to do songs that you can play for adults or kids to help them gently go night-night. She calls the CD "Sing You To Sleep" and it's available here! Or if you'd like an autographed copy with the money going to Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS, get thee to the gift catalogue at BroadwayCares.org. PS. You can also get my autographed book there and Andrea Martin's!

Jeremy Jordan
Jeremy Jordan Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

I had the cute and talented Jeremy Jordan on my "Chatterbox," and he talked about his early days in New York when he had very few credits. He had basically only played the role of the male prostitute in The Little Dog Laughed so if you Googled "Jeremy Jordan" you either saw a photo of him nude in bed or really raunchy photos of Jeremy Jordan, the porn star. Since then, though, he's racked up many credits as the star of Newsies, Bonnie and Clyde and most recently Finding Neverland. He told us he was offered the workshop of Finding Neverland but then they reneged and informed that Matthew Morrison would be doing it. Afterwards, he was offered the out-of-town production at A.R.T. but wasn't guaranteed the Broadway production. He knew it was possible he wouldn't do the part and when he finally found out Matt was going to do it on Broadway, it was a relief. Not because he didn't want to do it, but the stress of not knowing was much worse than finding out for sure. I'm sure he'll get another show ASAP because he's able to go back and forth between pop and legit.

While he was doing Rock of Ages he was offered the stand-by for Tony in West Side Story. If you don't know, an understudy is in the show and covers bigger roles, and a stand-by isn't onstage unless he's playing the big role he's covering. At the time, Jeremy felt that taking the job would be a lateral move because he was already an understudy in Rock of Ages. When he turned down West Side Story, they came back and told him that they instead wanted him to play the role of Tony twice a week. And he wouldn't have to stand by for any of the other performances! He said it was the best job ever! He sounds great on "Maria" and, if you listen to this link, I "love" how the person taping it decided halfway through to cough full volume into the microphone. His funniest onstage experience was during Rock of Ages. He was on for Constantine Maroulis and he was playing opposite Amy Spanger, who is around 10 years older than him. The two of them were edging in for a hot, romantic moment and right when they got super close someone from the audience yelled out, "Get it, cougar!" I'm sure Amy felt super-sexy.

This week is the amazing Gypsy of the Year competition which I'll be hosting for the sixth time! It's Monday and Tuesday afternoon and you can get tix at BroadwayCares.org. And on Tuesday I hightail from the New Amsterdam Theater to JFK to take a flight to Puerto Rico to join Playbill's Broadway By The Sea with a slew of Broadway stars... and my mother.

(Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon Broadway host on SiriusXM. He has played piano for over 15 Broadway shows, was Grammy-nominated for his concert CD of Hair and Emmy-nominated for being a comedy writer on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." He has written two novels, "Broadway Nights" and "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan," which are also available at Audible.com. He recently launched SethTV.com, where you can contact him and view all of his videos and his sassy new reality show.)

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