ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Music Director Steve Marzullo, Plus Remembering My Salad Days at Oberlin

By Seth Rudetsky
22 May 2012

Judy Kuhn

In academia news, I'm very excited to be heading back to my alma mater in a few weeks. Yes, Oberlin is having its first conservatory reunion. Usually, Oberlin has reunions in three-year clusters (in other words, everyone who graduated in 1991-1993 comes for a group reunion). This year is the first reunion for anyone who ever went to the conservatory. Back in the day, I was a classical piano performance major and I'm flying out on Saturday, June 14 with a vocal performance major — Judy Kuhn! I'm going to interview her/have her sing some of her classic songs and that night I'm going to co-host Mock Students. It's a comedy/variety show that happens every spring at the conservatory. The acts are always super funny and very inside. My senior year, I hosted it with voice major Cindy King (who was hilarious). I remember that for our opening, we prepared a whole slide show making fun of fellow students and teachers. First, we showed a picture of the very old harp teacher and told the audience that she's about to star in a spin-off of "thirtysomething"… it was going to be called "ninetysomething." FYI, it was the '80s, people…very timely. Also, there was a flute major named Pierre who was really tall and really skinny. We showed a picture of him and congratulated him on winning the "I Look Like My Instrument" Award. Hmmm…maybe you have to be a classical musician to find that funny. Or 21 years old. Anyhoo, if you went to the Oberlin Conservatory (or "con" as we call it), come to the reunion in June! There'll be plenty more jokes like those. Wait…that's not an incentive?

My sister Beth officially wins the entrepreneurial award. She's a singer/songwriter and, on an oddly related note, loves crime novels. She "friended" on Facebook some of the authors she reads all the time, and started writing back and forth with one of her favorites: British author Zoe Sharp. Zoe asked to hear some of Beth's songs and she sent them. Zoe loved them and then told Beth she was going to do a preview of her new book online. It would be like a music video/movie preview and she wound up asking Beth to write the song that would play throughout the trailer! Beth got all the details about Zoe's upcoming book ("The Fifth Victim") and wrote a song based on it called "The Victim Won't Be Me." Beth played and sang it (with Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf on cello), sent it to Zoe and the video just got made. It's fab! And now Beth is working with another author, making a trailer for her upcoming crime novel. Brava on discovering a new niche: writing pop songs about crime victims. Talk about specific.

Melissa Errico
photo by Meryn Anders

My Not Since High School benefit (celebs singing songs from roles they played in school) now has Norbert Leo Butz, Melissa Errico, Mandy Gonzales, Josh Henry, Chris Jackson, Lisa Lampanelli and I just added Corbin Bleu! I know that Corbin did a lot of dancing in high school (he went to the arts school run by Debbie Allen). I asked him to haul out a song where he would bust a move. He mentioned doing a song from the musical Footloose and I was mortified to ask if he was in high school when that show came out (because I was essentially in my mid-70s). He emailed me back and said he wasn't. Ah… then I realized that Footloose came out before he was in high school! Holy botox! And I'm out. I've also decided to have the benefit end with a screening of the first episode of my new reality show! SethTV.com "goes live" on the same night as the benefit (Monday, June 18) so it will also double as a launch party! Get tix at and sign up for SethTV at SethTV.com. I just realized that it's less than a month away. Wowza. And, now let me have a private panic attack while you all 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.)