Onstage & Backstage: Why Did Lin-Manuel Miranda Change Up Hamilton Lyrics?

Seth Rudetsky   Onstage & Backstage: Why Did Lin-Manuel Miranda Change Up Hamilton Lyrics?
 
This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Seth gets Hamilton creator to riff on some new lyrics. Plus a visit to On Your Feet reveals a hilarious backstage story and Disaster! rehearsals continue.
Andrea after <i>On Your Feet</i> in her dressing room (in her mirror a la <i>Dreamgirls!</i>)
Andrea after On Your Feet in her dressing room (in her mirror a la Dreamgirls!)

This week James, Juli and I went to see On Your Feet! We had a great time and boy, is that cast talented!!! I was so happy to see Josh Segarra as Emilio Estefan. I remember loving him when I interviewed him while he was starring in Lysistrata Jones. He played a basketball player and there was a lot of basketball choreography in the show. He said that sometimes the cast wouldn’t throw perfectly and the balls would fly into the audience. Most of the time when a ball came at someone, they would catch it. But, he said, some people in the audience would literally stare at the ball in horror as it approached and eventually hit them. He said it’s because they'd forget "basic life skills," which I think is a hilarious description of what would happen. After the show, he'd see people who got hit by the ball and say, "I'm sorry…," followed by a muttered, "…but you're an idiot." Brava blaming of the victim!

My good friend Andrea Burns was so fantastic as Gloria Estefan's mother. Her role is such a tour-de-force! She literally gets to be hilarious, dramatic, sing up a storm and then dance up a storm! Such a sassy high kick, too! I remembered that her first big professional gig was understudying Maria in the big European tour of West Side Story and had to dance "America." Here’s a hilarious video she made with me where she discusses her West Side Story days! 

 

We’re now starting our third week of Disaster! rehearsal and it’s been so fun. On Tuesday we do our first big event for various press and group sales. Everyone is super excited about it…except for the fact that it’s in the morning and we have to arrive at 8:30 AM.  Regardless, during rehearsals we’ve been working a lot on the big act two dance that features Faith Prince. This is me with the dance captain Casey Garvin pretending that dancing is joyous and free.

Seth Rudetsky and Casey Garvin
Seth Rudetsky and Casey Garvin

This is me in actuality after dancing: using a roller on my leg muscles because they hurt like a mother-effer.

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And furthermore, that was actually a posed picture of me with the roller, pretending that rolling feels good. After I posed for that picture, I started rolling for real and Jennifer Simard secretly caught a shot of how I actually look. She also filmed me in action.  Watch how I'm silently mouthing a painful "OH MY GOD!"

Rick Sordelet is our fight coordinator. He's done so many Broadway shows and we were so excited when we got him! A fight coordinator is the person who teaches actors how to do whatever stage combat is in the show. Rick has also worked a lot with the amazing puppeteer Basil Twist and is doing so many amazing illusions in our show that are puppeted.  For the combat stuff, he made a list of all the "incidents of violence" in the show. That means moments like when the earthquake hits and people can’t stand and/or get killed by debris falling and/or get electrocuted… or when Roger Bart (who owns the casino drilled into the fault line) physically tries to prevent me (the disaster expert) from telling everyone in the casino that they’re all at risk of dying. Rick met with the whole cast and held a really fun/informative workshop. It was very "theater games" from college, which I always loved!

One of the things we had to do was walk in a big group without bumping into each other and when he said stop, we had to run to the nearest person and hug them. If everyone around you found someone to hug (but you didn't), then you were supposed to raise your hand to show you were available and without a partner. I'm sure it's great training for stagecraft but it also had the essence of a classic Charlie Brown rejection. Here's everyone hugging while a lone Jennifer Simard shows that she has no one to hug. "A Charlie Brown Stage Combat Session?"

Jenn Simard
Jenn Simard

He also taught us how to fall properly. To do it we were told to notice a dollar on the floor and reach for it.

Everyone did it like a normal person but after looking at this pic, I see I'm clearly basing my bending down on Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video. #Werk  #LookAtThatLine  

Bend it like Beyoncé
Bend it like Beyoncé

I was at my SiriusXM radio show and was about to play a song from Hamilton.  I suddenly wondered what it would be like if someone saw the title and thought it wasn't about Alexander Hamilton, but a full musical about Margaret Hamilton. I immediately texted Lin-Manuel Miranda and told him to start writing lyrics ASAP.  Literally, within two minutes he sent me back amazing opening number lyrics!

Instead of

"Alexander Hamilton… We are waiting in the wings for you!"

He changed it to:

"Margaret Freakin' Hamilton… We are monkeys wearing wings for you!"

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OK…can we first discuss how quick he is!?! Can we then marvel at how he took the word "wings" as in the wings of a stage and changed the meaning to mean wings that fly? And adds an amazing specific Wicked Witch of the West reference? Talk about a brava! I assume the next verse would focus on her signature coffee commercial from the 70s.  Lin, get back to me. Here's a commercial for reference:  

(FYI, the other actor in the commercial also features a classic "jewfro" — a hairstyle worn by my leading character in both of my recent novels from Random House, "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan" and "The Rise and Fall Of A Theater Geek." If you are a fan of that look and/or comedy books, pick up a copy.)

We now have an amazing website for Disaster! with a really fun cast picture. If you don't know, I dislike alcohol immensely. I've always hated the taste and I never drink. Kevin Chamberlin told me that he loves how I'm the only person in the cast holding a drink! And then Jennifer Simard texted to tell me she's obsessed that even when I'm in the water surrounded by sharks, I still have my drink! I guess I really am acting! Don't forget, my delicious friends and family discount lasts until the end of March. Use SOC1 at DisasterMusical.com and peace out!

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