Their Favorite Things: Follies Star and Award-Winning Comic Rita Rudner Shares Her Theatregoing Experiences

Favorite Things   Their Favorite Things: Follies Star and Award-Winning Comic Rita Rudner Shares Her Theatregoing Experiences
 
Playbill.com's feature series Their Favorite Things asks members of the theatre community to share the Broadway performances that most affected them as part of the audience.

This week we spotlight the choices of Rita Rudner, who was part of the cast of the original Broadway productions of Follies, Mack & Mabel and Annie before becoming an award-winning, internationally acclaimed comic. Rudner will bring her stand-up to 54 Below Aug. 20-22 at 7 PM.

Rita Rudner
Rita Rudner

Yvonne De CarloFollies

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I’m starting with two shows I was in. I remember the night Yvonne missed her cue for “I’m Still Here” and ran down the stairs from her dressing room, holding her shoes and screaming, “I’m coming!”

Robert PrestonMack &t Mabel

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I was a Mack Sennett bathing beauty in this show. Robert Preston’s command of the stage and ability to sing when he had virtually no singing voice was always impressive.

Priscilla LopezA Chorus Line

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There were so many stand-out performances in this show – Donna McKechnie and Kelly Bishop, for example – but I always loved the way Priscilla performed “Nothing.” A Chorus Line is still my favorite show I wasn’t in.

Elaine StritchCompany

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She delivered a great cocktail of hostility and vulnerability, which, if she were still here, she would no doubt drink. I’ll drink to that!

Jennifer HollidayDreamgirls

Has there ever been a better close to a first act than Jennifer Holliday singing “I Am Telling You”?

Tommy TuneMy One and Only

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Best legs in show business. I loved him and Twiggy in this.

Chita RiveraChicago

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My first job as a dancer was a tour of Zorba with Chita Rivera. I was sixteen and she terrified me. For me, she and Gwen Verdon are still the definitive Chicago pairing.

Sinead CusackRock ’n’ Roll

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Sinead Cusack’s performances in two parts – a mother and daughter — made me weep….unusual for a Tom Stoppard play.

Richard GriffithsThe History Boys

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Another British import; great play and a great performance by a man who was taken from us too soon and was so much more than Mr. Dursley in the Harry Potter films.

Joan AllenThe Heidi Chronicles

Joan Allen and Boyd Gaines
Joan Allen and Boyd Gaines Photo by Gerry Goodstein

I loved Wendy Wasserstein’s writing – talk about people being taken too soon – and loved her heroines.  Joan Allen’s Heidi – successful, yet riddled with self-doubt – was someone to whom I could relate way too closely.

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