ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Adam Chanler-Berat, Lance Bass, Varla Jean Merman Plus Seth TV, In Magical Colors

By Seth Rudetsky
17 Sep 2012

Lance Bass

On Thursday, I went with my mom and the aforementioned Aaron to go see the Actors Fund performance of Book of Mormon. It was hilarious as usual. During intermission I showed Aaron the Playbill, which had a big ad for Bloomingdale's that said "Starring" followed by lots of designers names like Michael Kors and Bill Blass. I pointed to the ad and told him, "My mother saw this the last time we were at the theatre and was in a rage that all of these designers had the nerve to be starring in a new Broadway show." My mother then looked over and said in an annoyed tone, "Well, why are they starring in a show?," yet again not realizing it was an ad for Bloomingdale's. At least her irritation with the world is consistent.

This week I interviewed Lance Bass on my SiriusXM radio show, Seth Speaks. He was in high school when Justin Timberlake's vocal coach recommended him to be a member of the newly forming group. Lance sang a lot in school in their show choir but never thought he'd have a singing career because he's a bass. He obviously never heard the original cast album of Applause starring Lauren Bacall. All the boys in 'N Sync are actually great musicians and, turns out, they never lip-synched in performance! So many pop performers do live concerts that are lip-synched even though they think they’re tricking people by wearing a body mic right next to their mouths. Lance said that when they got popular they did tons of TV shows, but he felt they didn't officially make it until they were on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." Listen how amazing they sound singing a cappella on her show. Brava! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liC5pEtny0U. At the end of Seth Speaks, Lance mentioned the song "Summer Nights" and I launched into it. Here he is singing Danny, fellow SiriusXM host Jenny Hutt as Sandy and my audience as Rizzo/Frenchy/Sonny/Kenickie/Marty/Doody! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsoGoQm3248&list=UUof82KLoWT0U9hpK5lcHLiA

I interviewed Adam Chanler-Berat at Seth's Broadway Chatterbox, and I asked him about his high school theatre experience. He told me that his teacher took him aside and told him, very seriously, "I can count on my hand the number of students I've felt could pursue theatre professionally." She then held up four fingers, keeping her pinkie folded down. She stared at him. "I can now add one more." Then, as she said, "Go for it!" she lifted her pinkie so all five fingers were extended. Comedy? Dramedy? You decide.