Tonight's the night! It's our big Broadway benefit for You Gotta Believe and COAC! So many stars are going to be onstage to sing up a storm and help foster kids find permanent homes. And we just added Darren Criss (see adorable photo of him). If you haven't gotten tickets yet, get thee to YouGottaBelieve.org. And if you want to donate, you can do that there as well and you can also help by bidding on some of the amazing items we have at CharityBuzz.com/YouGottaBelieve!
All I wanted to do was stay in New York City this week and prepare for the concert, but I had lots of out-of-town performances I agreed to do before we scheduled tonight's show. So, last Monday, I flew to Toronto to meet Andrea Martin for two shows. As anxious as I was to leave Manhattan, I was happy to hang out with her because she is always hilarious. She's up there filming the sequel to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." She's back as Aunt Voula once again. ("What you mean, you don't eat no meat?? (pause) That's OK, that's OK... I make lamb.") One day last week, she was about to leave for the set when a recorded voice started yelling from her laptop: "Alert! Alert! You've been hacked. Do not close your laptop! Call this number!" Not since, "I've taken a trip to Manila and my wallet was stolen! Please mail me $1,000 to pay for my hotel" has there ever been a more obvious scam, but Andrea took it at face value and went into a panic. She kept her laptop wide open and called the number for help... and to give easier access to the people hacking her. It all ended with her son telling her to close her laptop immediately and then her having to contact a special computer genius to fix everything that was hacked. She was told to change every single password and when the computer expert asked her what her regular password was, she told him it was "Andrea." There was at least 30 seconds of silence on the phone. Apparently, the computer expert went into a state of shock/devastation. He then calmly told her that was probably the worst possible password she could have. Who knew? When she told me, I immediately changed my password from "Andrea" to "Seth." Phew.
Right now, I'm writing from Provincetown where I'm doing a show with Laura Osnes. One of the songs she's singing is "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. She sounds great, and I told her it would have been a great role for her. Turns out, she auditioned to be Sierra Boggess' replacement! She went in a few times and had to learn how to use heelies (those sneakers with wheels on the heels... that's how they would "swim" across the stage) and all the potential Ariels had to show up at one audition in a crop top. Oy vey! I'll tell what trio wouldn't have been cast as Ariel: me and my two love handles. Regardless, she made it to the end... and wasn't cast. Now, usually I have an inspiring story like "Six months later, she got an even better job so it all worked out." This is an immediate version of that story. The day after not getting the role of Ariel, she found out she was taking over for Kelli O'Hara in South Pacific. So, she had one (1) day of being depressed that she didn't get a Broadway lead… until she got the next lead.
Speaking of Ariel, I interviewed Lesli Margherita, one of the hilarious stars from Matilda the Musical. She was working at Disney in California doing a role in The Little Mermaid and one night, the girl playing Ariel couldn't go on. Lesli convinced them to let her play the part. The main reason they didn't want her to do it was because she is large in the chest area and as she said of the costume: "Those seashells don't fit D shells." Well, as luck would have it, it was a late-night showing full of rowdy teens and her song set herself up for a slew of inappropriate audience participation. This is how it went down: LESLI (sings): I want to be where the people are,
I wanna see, wanna see them dancing!
Walking around on those..
Whaddya call them?
LESLI: (sings again) Flipping your fins you don't get too far
Legs are required for jumping, dancing
Strolling along down a...
What's that word again?
I also had the amazing Christopher Sieber on "Chatterbox," who's playing the evil Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical. He told us that when he was a kid, he was obsessed with the curtains in his living room because they went from the top of the window all the way to the floor. He would have his brother be the "stage manager" i.e. pull the curtains open and then Chris would do entire shows for this "neighbors" whom he now admits didn't know they were supposed to be looking through his window and watching. Chris also said the show could only start at a very specific time during the day when the sunlight was streaming in at a certain angle so it was like a spotlight. One of the jokes in his act is him talking about the look on his parents face when they suddenly walked in one day and saw his brother pulling the curtain for Chris to stand center stage and sing and dance. He claims the look was the realization that their son was trying to turn their other son into a lesbian stage manager. #StillGotIt!
I also had Matt Harrington at "Chatterbox" who plays the Dad. If you've seen the show, you know that Matilda pulls a prank and changes her father's hair tonic. Her Dad uses the tonic, dries his hair with a towel, throws it offstage and suddenly, he has green hair. His wife (Lesli) comes onstage and screams how his hair is green. Then Matilda comes onstage and sees it etc. It's an amazing trick and it somehow involves him putting on a green wig when he uses the towel. Well, one night Matt said he used the towel, threw it offstage and right as it was traveling to the wings he saw a flash of something in the towel. A flash of something green. Uh-oh. Suddenly, Lesli came onstage, pointed to his hair and did her usual, "Your hair! It's green!" line. However, his hair wasn't green. Not was it even hair. He was simply standing on a Broadway stage in a wig cap. Yes, he had thrown the towel and the green wig offstage. Lesli thought of changing to the line to, "Your hair! You're bald!" but then he'd have to be bald for the rest of the show. So, she simply screamed that he had green hair and let the audience use their "imagination." Not since "Ship of Dreams," the opening number of Titanic when everyone came onstage, pointed (to nothing) and sang about the enormity of massive ship. Here is that number on the The Rosie O'Donnell Show. PS It's so fun to see all the great Broadway people in the number: Brian d'Arcy James, Marty Moran, Michele Ragusa, Judy Blazer, Ted Sperling, David Elder, John Bolton, Michael Cerveris and so many more! Forbidden Broadway does a hilarious parody where they change the title "Ship of Dreams" to "Ship of Air." Listen.
Speaking of Matilda the Musical, Chris Sieber sent me a shot backstage of himself reading my new book "The Rise and Fall Of A Theater Geek." And I got a picture of Andrea Martin reading my book as well. And by "a" picture, I mean we staged around 20 different shots and here's one of them! You can get my book in most bookstores or just by clicking here.
And, if you're in NYC, please come to the East 86th Street and Lexington Barnes and Noble on Wednesday at 7 PM. I'm going to be reading from my book and doing a book signing. I'll be playing the role of Justin, the 16-year-old obsessed Broadway lover (with a Jewfro) who gets to spend two weeks in New York, living his dream and interning for a TV star making his Broadway debut. Of course, very soon his soon, his dream turns to a nachtmare. First, Justin is forced to live with his cranky a** Grandmother and that role will be read by the hilarious Ann Harada. Chase Hudson, the new/cute Broadway star whom Justin is interning for, will be read by Jonathan Groff (who was just amazing in A New Brain) and the hostile/controlling assistant to Chase will be read by the brilliant Santino Fontana. Barnes and Noble is bringing in a piano so I plan on all three stars hauling out a song! Since both Jonathan and Santino were in "Frozen," perhaps a snowman will be built! If you're not in NYC, you can still hear me blab about the book and ask questions of your own during my Google chat on Wednesday at 2 PM, hosted by the very famous Perez Hilton! Here's the link. And, now, off to benefit tech rehearsal at the St. James! Check @SethRudetsky on Twitter for photos! And peace out!
(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.)