Greetings from…Brooklyn. That's right, usually I'm writing from some far away locale, but this weekend I'm playing for Betty Buckley in exotic Brooklyn and Queens. The good news is, the tickets sales are great. The bad news is, driving here took as long as a plane ride to Chicago. Speaking of which, that's where I had to change planes this week on the way back from Winnipeg, Canada. I went there to play for Andrea Martin who was hosting a TV variety show for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. She was, of course, hilarious. She talked about being Armenian (her family's last name was [AUDIO-LEFT]originally Popasian). She explained that all Armenian last names end in "i-a-n" and that the Kardashians are also Armenian. She then said, "Kim isn't the only Armenian with a sex tape. I also have a sex tape coming out." Pause. "It's an audio tape." Andrea looks so amazing. She's the only woman I know who looks like she's wearing Spanx but isn't. Speaking of great bodies, I just interviewed Emily Skinner on my Sirius/XM "Live On Broadway" show. She is now essentially a size zero and had the nerve to tell me it's simply from doing Billy Elliot. Really? I did a Broadway show and I didn't shrink my dress size. I busted her and said she sounds like those models who say, "Why am I so skinny? Chasing around my toddler." She then told me that she also does cardio. Hmph. I do cardio…-ish. I made her re-tell one of my favorite stories I've mentioned here before; her first job on Broadway was being in the ensemble of Jekyll and Hyde and understudying Linda Eder. During previews, Linda lost her voice and they told Emily she was on. Not only had she never rehearsed anything (none of the blocking or crazy fights scenes), but the stage was constantly covered in fog! Equity wouldn't let her go on, so Linda Eder was forced to do the show. But she really had lost her voice. So, whenever Linda got to a song, Emily stood backstage with a microphone and sang it and Linda stood onstage and lipsynched it! Pre-dating Ashlee Simpson by a decade. Brava!
|photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
On Monday night, I went to a big fundraiser for The Point Foundation which gives money to LGBT young people to help pay for their college. It was very inspiring. One of the "scholars" (as they're called) who had received funding was Maggie Keenan-Bolger, sister of Celia and Andrew. I had first met her when I went back to Oberlin, my alma mater, and taught a master class. And the Point Foundation funded her study at the City University of New York where the website says she's "using theatre to facilitate, activate and educate in the Applied Theater Program at CUNY." The event was hosted by Kelly Ripa who looked amazing. There were many other celebs, but I, of course, never recognize anyone. I've said this so many times, but I'll say it again; I have major trouble differentiating faces yet people always think I'm being rude for not knowing who they are. It's not my fault! An example of my crazy facial-spotting issue is that for the first year of "Friends," I thought Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry looked like twins. Literally couldn't tell them apart. At the beginning of the event, I was looking for Kelly and her husband Mark Consuelos because I had worked with them in 1998 on an "All My Children" production number (to the tune of "Oklahoma") for "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." I saw Mark on the red carpet and he was super friendly and knew who I was. I reminded him we met when he sang "Oklahoma" for me. He kept denying it and I kept reminding him of the lyrics. Finally, after a lot of back and forth featuring me actually singing some of the song, I found out it wasn't Mark Consuelos. It actually was the head of the Point Foundation, Jorge Valencia. Yes, they're both Hispanic. Great. So now I look like a racist. And, FYI, I pointed at him before I walked over and said, "Is that Mark Consuelos" to someone who works there and he said, "Yes!" He then claimed he thought I was pointing further down the red carpet to where Mark was. And, to continue my facial non-recognition, I was there to co-host the auction and throughout it, I kept seeing a lovely black woman raising her hand to bid. I thought, "Boy, she's pretty." I later found out the "pretty lady" I saw was super-model Iman. I don't recognize people! Off my back. Speaking of the auction, at the last minute I added an item: a chance to co-host on my radio show. I was nervous I'd only get a $10 bid from James, but I raised them a delicious $6,000. I still got it! Kelly was a great host and near the end of the evening, she busted co-host Sam Champion, who left early because he had to be on TV early the next day. "Hm…" she remarked, "I guess he's the only one who has to work in the morning." Snap! The whole evening honored Bravo's Andy Cohen and Margarethe Cammermeyer. Andy was adorable and brought his mother as his date, taking a page out of my Oedipal diary. If you don't know her story, here's the brief version: she was a nurse in Vietnam and eventually became Chief Nurse of the Washington State National Guard. In 1989, during an interview for Top Secret clearance, she mentioned that she was a lesbian. She was immediately fired from the military despite her exemplary military and civilian professional record. She filed a suit which challenged the existing ban on homosexuals in the military and requested her reinstatement. After 25 months of being in and out of court, the judge ruled it unconstitutional and based on prejudice and she was reinstated. The tribute to Margarethe was fantastic. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan talked about making the film "Serving in Silence" and then they brought up Glenn Close, who had run over right after filming "Damages." As Glenn talked about what an honor it was to play Margarethe, she became so moved she started crying. Then Margarethe came up and, turns out, even though she looks stern in photos, she's a great and very funny speaker. She talked about getting a call from Barwood, Barbra Streisand's production company in the early '90s who asked her to fly out and meet with them about making the TV movie. Since she was in the middle of the actual lawsuit, she felt she had to ask her lawyer. "I called my lawyer and she told me that because of the upcoming trial I could not fly to Malibu to meet with Barbra Streisand…"Pause. "…without my lawyer." Hilarious.
On Friday it was my sister Nancy's birthday, and to "celebrate" it, she pulled a typical Rudetsky. She was having a problem with a teacher at one of her kid's school and she called another teacher to tell her the story and get some advice on how to deal with the annoying teacher. Well, the phone rang and it said on the caller ID that it was the school and she recognized the voice of Marcia, the nice teacher. But because she never quite let Marcia identify herself, Nancy went into a panic that it was actually the annoying teacher calling. So, Nancy started telling the story, but kept stopping to obsessively clarify that it was the nice teacher. She'd start talking and then say, "Wait… but isthis Marcia?" and Marcia would say yes. Then Nancy would repeat the cycle every four sentences. And because she was nervous it was the teacher she was complaining about, she completely modified the story and left out all details in case the teacher was planning on revealing herself on the other end of the phone. So, for five minutes, she told a bland, non-detailed filled story and interrupted it every 45 seconds to say, "Wait…but is this Marcia?" When she finally decided it was Marcia, she had to go back to the beginning of the story and tell what actually happened. Writing this story is as exhausting as it was actually living it. For Nancy and Marcia. Also, my question is: what was Marcia thinking when she had to constantly keep clarifying that it was, indeed, her? Nancy told me that it all dates back to high school. One day, she was walking up the stairs with her friend and totally dishing her French teacher. After a full scathing 60 seconds, she suddenly heard the voice of her teacher right behind her say, "Is that so, Nanette?" (Nanette was her French name). Nancy was mortified. Later that day, she re-told the whole story to a friend in the girls room and, of course, out from the stall came her French teacher. Those two events led to a lifetime of constantly asking; "Wait…but is this Marcia?" My Sony Masterworks deconstruction this week feels like the hardest I've ever done because the song is so long and layered and Sondheim-esque. Not surprisingly, because it was written by Sondheim. Watch!
And here's the hilarious Paul Vogt, whom I became obsessed with on "Mad TV." I did a Playbill Obsessed! video with him and made him do my favorite imitation that he does: Mrs. Edna Garrett from "Facts of Life." Watch!
This week I'm actually staying in New York and then next week I'm off to warm Florida to do my show at The Kravis Center and The Broward Center (info at http://sethrudetsky.com/blog/see-me-live/). And, harkening back to the Andy Cohen school of apron strings, I'm bringing my mother along. Peace out!
(Seth Rudetsky has played piano in the pits of many Broadway shows including Ragtime, Grease and The Phantom of the Opera. He was the artistic producer/conductor for the first five Actors Fund concerts including Dreamgirls and Hair, which were both recorded. As a performer, he appeared on Broadway in The Ritz and on TV in "All My Children," "Law and Order C.I." and on MTV's "Made" and "Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods." He has written the books "The Q Guide to Broadway" and "Broadway Nights," which was recorded as an audio book on Audible.com. He is currently the afternoon Broadway host on Sirius/XM radio and tours the country doing his comedy show, "Deconstructing Broadway." He can be contacted at his website SethRudetsky.com, where he has posted many video deconstructions.)