ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Hosting Gypsy of the Year and Talking With Tyne Daly

By Seth Rudetsky
16 Dec 2013


Jack Plotnick, who wrote Disaster! with me (and directed it) and I did a comedy sketch to represent the show where we recreated two different childhood "disaster." Basically it was a theatrical version of two things that happened to us when we were kids. They were horrifyingly and oddly parallel. One was when my Dad didn't realize my dog was next to my pillow and when he bent down to kiss me goodnight, he thought her tongue was my tongue! And the other was when Jack's mother forced Jack to kiss his father goodnight so he could smell whether or not he'd been drinking. Like most traumatic events from the past, enough time had passed to be turned into so-called "comedy gold." It ended with me proclaiming, "In conclusion, I was accused of trying to make out with my father," and Jack saying, "And I actually did make out with my father!"

It was amazing doing that sketch with him on a Broadway stage and getting laughs from such an enormous theatre. (Disaster! seats less than 199 people, so the contrast was crazy!) The show was star-studded as usual and there were plenty of Brits this year. Stephen Fry did a hilarious reading of a letter about his visit to Dracula's castle and it was filled so much brilliant wordplay. When he arrives at the castle he read, "Prudence demanded that I leave her at home, so I was alone." And when Dracula's disfigured manservant opens the castle door, Stephen read, "Of all the hideous spectacles I've ever seen, the ones perched on the bridge of his nose remain forever etched in my memory." You can see him read it here.

Speaking of BCEFA, there are so many amazing holiday Broadway-themed gifts at BroadwayCares.org, including many CDs called "Carols For A Cure," where Broadway casts do beautiful or hilarious holiday songs. Here's a deconstruction of one of my absolute favorites; the Hairspray cast singing the "South Park" version of "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel." Watch

Another Brit we saw was the great Sir Ian McKellen. I know him because he's a great friend to Only Make Believe, a charity that brings theatre to hospitalized children and which I perform with a lot. Jack knows Ian because they did the film "Gods and Monsters" together. The scene with the two of them was shown at the Oscars when the film was nominated! I found the first scene that features Jack on YouTube... Watch

Speaking of charity, I got an email from one I'd never heard of, but I think it's great! It's for very ill children who want to speak to their celebrity "hero" and instead of having to arrange a plane trip etc, the organization hooks up a Skype or Facetime phone call! I had a wonderful time talking to a 'tween in Texas named Zoe who listens to me on SiriusXM all the time. If you want to make a donation or find out more about it, go to Face2FaceFoundation.org.

Tyne Daly didn't only make an appearance at Gypsy of the Year; she also was my guest at "Seth's Broadway Chatterbox!" And she brought along... Sharon Gless! Yes! I had Cagney and Lacey at my show. They were so much fun! Tyne remembered their first press tour for the TV show and shared a revealing story about Sharon. Turns out, there had been two TV movies about Cagney and Lacey before the TV show. Sharon wasn't cast until the series began and during the press tour, people kept mentioning Sharon's blonde hair. "Were you brought onto the show to lighten it up because you're a blonde?" "Does your blonde hair mean you're the happier of the two characters?"

Backstage with Sir Ian McKellen