ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Life in London With Christopher Fitzgerald, Gavin Creel, Jared Gertner; Revisiting Sunset With Patti LuPone

By Seth Rudetsky
27 Jun 2013

Seth with Gavin and Wally at breakfast
Speaking of Patti, Jack and I went out to breakfast with Gavin (Creel) and he told me how obsessed he's always been with her. When he was going to Michigan University, he drove across the country just to see her in Patti LuPone: Live. It took many, many hours because there was snowstorm but, even after driving for so long, he still had the energy to love the show. Why? Because right before the show, he said he drank the one and only cup of coffee he's ever had!

I never found out why he's never drunk coffee before or since (foreshadowing his starring in The Book of Mormon?), but I did keep his Patti obsession in mind. He and Jared came to the final performance and when we got to, "Come to Me (Fantine's Death)", I asked Gavin to come to the stage to sing Valjean's part. Turns out, he doesn't really know Les Miserables at all, but Jared told him to get onstage and he did. Gavin sat next to me at the piano and sightread the Valjean part. He sounded amazing and, at one point, because he didn't quite know the amount of notes between two pitches, he connected them with a variety of notes that turned it into an amazing riff! After he sang, Patti hugged him and he was so overwhelmed that he said, "I'm dead!" and fell to the floor. P.S. I found the video of the first we pulled from the audience to sing "Come to Me." Watch his brazen closing of Patti's eyes at the end of the song. Hilarious!

Gavin's not the only actor we pulled from the audience that weekend. Patti found out that the actor who played Artful Dodger opposite her Nancy in the 80's revival of Oliver was in the house on Saturday night, and she asked him to come onstage and we did an impromptu version of, "Consider Yourself." His cockney accent was amazing because it was the real deal. Patti told us that she had a terrible cockney accent. There was a dialect coach on the show but Patti didn't show up for many of the sessions because, "It was the 80's in New York…and I had better things to do." 'Nuff said. On that same night, she pointed out Jonathan Pryce in the audience and asked him to come onstage. He walked up and she immediately asked him to sing something. He first responded by saying, "But...I paid for my ticket." Eventually, she convinced him to sing "Fly Me To The Moon" and he sounded great!

Saturday was an early show for Patti, because immediately following it was my solo show! I wasn't that nervous because I had been getting such great responses all week. I was so amazed at how many people know me in England because of my deconstructing videos on SethTV.com! As a matter of fact, James (who flew to England right after the Unbroken Circle opening) and I were walking around Leicester Square when we heard a group of kids yelling. I realized they were pointing/yelling at me. I went over and found out they were high school theatre students who were coming to Patti's show and my solo show. Turns out, they were in England on a trip from South Africa! I couldn't believe theatre kids watch my videos in South Africa! They all came to my show wearing their homemade "Obsessed" shirts. Look at the photo!