Why You Should Always Audition First or Last—Says Betty Buckley

Seth Rudetsky   Why You Should Always Audition First or Last—Says Betty Buckley This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Seth prepares for the Playbill cruise, learns something new at the NAACP Image Awards and reveals a hilarious story about Marc Kudisch from Seth Speaks.
Seth Rudetsky
Seth Rudetsky Joseph Marzullo/WENN

I’m back in NYC after a quick trip to L.A. (more on that later) and then this Friday I leave for Florida to do a show with Matt Morrison. Then, the next day I fly from Ft. Lauderdale to San Juan to start the Playbill cruise. Very fun!

Speaking of Matt, I was talking with him about the short period of time he was in a boy band. Not the fake boy band he was in created by the Conan O’Brienn show (“Fresh Step”). No, he was in an actual boy band called Element. But, sassy style, (sort of) it was spelled LMNT. Anybody? NBDY. Anyhoo, they all lived in the same house which is fun…for two days. Matt wound up not liking it at all and there was tension with the other “boys.” It all escalated during a photo shoot where he got into what he called a “boy band fight.” Another member thought Matt was getting too much focus and fists started flying. The fight was broken up by the police. Oh, it was broken up by the make-up artist. Sounds terrifying! Anyhoo, come see me and Matt this Friday night at the Broward Center. Here’s a video we made promoting it. (Keep in mind, it was right after I had surgery on my left bicep tendon and I couldn’t move my arm out of it’s weird half-bent position.)

Marc Kudisch was at Seth Speaks my SiriusXM talk show. We were reminiscing about Thoroughly Modern Millie (I used to be a sub piano player in the orchestra) and he told me he was the first person to audition for the role of Trevor Graydon. He got the part and a Tony nomination. Betty Buckley thinks you should always aim to be the first person auditioning or the last. She was the last woman to audition for Martha Jefferson in 1776 and she got it. And Andrea McArdle was the first girl to audition for Annie and it worked out for her! Speaking of Betty in 1776, here’s my deconstruction:

Back to Marc: He talked about doing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and, in the middle of the run, he took a leave to do See What I Wanna See at the Public Theater. He starred opposite Idina Menzel and then came back to Chitty after a multi-week absence. The stage manager asked if he wanted to do a “put in rehearsal,” meaning a run of the entire show where he could be put back into his role. Marc haughtily said no. After all, he’d been doing the show for months before he left, he didn’t need to rehearse it again. Cut to, he got onstage that night and during his very first scene, he forgot everything. Literally everything. He looked at his understudy who had gone on for him and was in the scene with him playing his regular role and Marc asked “So….what do I do now?” But, Marc was playing a Baron with an German accent so it was “Zooo…Vat do I do now?” He was then basically fed his line. Then he asked “Zooo…Vat do I do now?” Over and over. For the entire scene. He was basically physically moved around the stage and fed his lines. Marc said he exited the scene and frantically looked at his script to see what the hell happened in the next scene. Note to actors: Take the put in! (That’s what she said).

In other news, I annoyingly had to get a tooth taken out last year. I just had the new one put in and it looks amazing. But I remember that right after I had it taken out, I ran into Matthew Broderick and I pointed to the gaping hole in my smile. He said we’re at the age now where it’s common to run into friends who give you a big “Hi!” and they have a giant tooth missing. They don’t even act like it’s a big deal. It’s so true!

Remember when I said I’d tell you about L.A.? James, Juli and I went to L.A. because we were invited to the NAACP Image awards. We were invited by Cornell Brooks (the president) who also spoke at our first Concert for America. I was sitting behind my piano during his amazing speech, but I was like “Wait… Am I in church? Did I somehow convert?” There was such a fiery pastor essence in how he spoke. Watch!

Juli and James Wesley at the NAACP Image Awards
Juli and James Wesley at the NAACP Image Awards Courtesy Seth Rudetsky

I was, however, completely thrown by him calling it the “N-A-A-C-P.” I always thought it was called the “N, Double A, C, P”. Then I heard others at the Image Awards call it the “N-A-A-C-P.” I was like, “I’ve been calling it the wrong name my whole life?” Finally, at one point during the awards ceremony, one of the winners said he felt so honored “by the N-A-A-C-P or the N- double A-C-P, I don’t know what to call it.” I was so happy someone else was in a quandary as I was! I realized that I was super comfortable using the double A because of my Broadway obsession: I’ve heard it a million times that way because it’s how Kerry Butler sang it in her lyric from Hairspray. Watch! P.S. This is an amazing clip from when the NY POPS honored Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Such a fantastic night!

James and I made a presentation to the celebs at the Awards to join the Concert For America calling out specific people I saw in the crowd like Trevor Noah. Then we showed this fabulous montage video of the first concert that was made by Paul Ewen. Look!

Speaking of Concert for America, our next one is February 25 at The Town Hall and, Broadway-wise, we have Ramin Karimloo, Andrea Martin, Emily Skinner, Keala Settle, Rema Webb and Will Chase. We also have pop star Ingrid Michaelson who I love, and we just booked JuWan Crawley and Nora Schell from the Hamilton homage called Spamilton. They both have such amazing voices…watch!

Get tix for the February 25 concert here, and then peace out!

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