ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: A Photography Disaster! and Les Misérables Memories

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18 Feb 2014

A week in the life of actor, radio and TV host, music director and writer Seth Rudetsky.


This week featured my debut in the Wall Street Journal! I've never been mentioned in that paper before, probably due to my standing on Wall Street itself. (I'm a horrific credit risk.) Nonetheless, one of Disaster!'s investors, Alec Stais, is a reader of Ralph Gardner's columns and invited him to the show. Ralph came and then told us he wanted to write a feature about Disaster! So exciting! We did a long phone interview, and then he asked to meet us for a live interview. Well, here's where the problems began. We met around 6 PM and I was nervous that we'd talk for a while and I'd barely make half-hour call for the show, so I got decided to get into some of my costume early... the white t-shirt I wear underneath my maroon turtleneck and tweed blazer.

I don't know why I thought having that one item of clothing would radically speed up the process of getting into costume later on, but nonetheless I put on my t-shirt right after the Judy Gold put-in rehearsal and then met Alec and Ralph at Obao, a nearby restaurant. When I walked in, they introduced me to the photographer who would be taking pictures for the article. Photographer? I was not dressed for photos! If I took off my coat, the photo would have me in a Hanes t-shirt that made me look like a vaguely out-of-shape Stanley Kowalski.

The photog asked us to sit at the bar while he took photos, so I decided to cover up my Streetcar Named Desire look and keep my winter coat on. But since it's bizarre to be sitting casually at the bar in a high-necked winter coat, I unbuttoned it. But I also kept my scarf wrapped around me, hopefully covering my t-shirt's Loni Anderson plunging neckline. I finally saw the photo when the article came out, and let's just say that my blouse is the least of my worries. Remember the Madonna song where she rapped, "Bette Davis gave good face?" Well, I give "mugging Jew face." Alec looks fantastic, and I look like someone who could co-star in Side Show opposite Fran Lebowitz. I sent the photo of me to Andrea Martin and told her that it highlights by gradual transformation into Fran Lebowitz. She wrote back "I wouldn't say gradual. Full blown." True 'dat. Here's the article

Seth and Alec (left); Fran Lebowitz (right)

My SiriusXM show, "Seth Speaks," had a fun combination of people. Right now, James and I are suddenly very into doing cardio because we watch TV on our phones at the gym and Hulu PLUS now carries all the "Amazing Race" seasons. OMG! We're obsessed! I had Tom and Terry, a team from Season 10 that I met when Rosie O'Donnell invited them to come on the Family Cruise years ago. We never saw their season until recently and I had to chat with them! They told us that when you're chosen for the race, you can only tell three people, maximum! You sign a contract that if you tell anyone else or if you give anyone information about the race, you're liable for millions of dollars. So, everyone at their jobs didn't know why they were missing for three weeks. Tom's co-workers thought he was adopting a baby and Terry's co-workers thought he was having surgery. What kind of surgery? A sex change. Isn't that everyone's first guess when they think of a medical procedure?

Anyhoo, their season is so fantastic. And so hard! Turns out, the seaons before featured the "Family Edition," which was a big dud. Because there were little kids on that show, the challenges were only difficult if you were a toddler. So the producers decided that the next season would be more like Survivor and have incredibly difficult challenges... but they didn't tell the participants! So Tom and Terry showed up ready to do typical "Amazing Race" challenges that are usually more on the tedious side rather than physically challenging, and instead they had to start the first episode by climbing the Great Wall Of China! Literally! It was a nachtmare!

Plus, Tom and Terry told me there are "Amazing Race" stalkers who run around the world trying to track down the teams in different countries, so the producers get actors who look like the teams to show up on episodes after a team has been eliminated to throw the stalkers off track. That way no one can figure out how long certain teams last in the show. So, after Tom and Terry were eliminated, there was a fake Tom and Terry lookalike team sent to the next city (Kuwait)! Tom's brother read a stalker blog that talked about Tom and Terry being in in the city after Vietnam so his family wasn't nervous watching the Vietnam episode. As a matter of fact, his Mom was so secure that her son would triumph in that episode that she scheduled a big, fat dinner party so she could watch it with all of her friends. Well, instead of Tom and Terry continuing with the race, the entire dinner party watched in horror as they were the last team to arrive. "Dessert?" Silence.

Tom & Terry
photo by Robb Johnston


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