ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Easter Bonnet Fun and Keala Settle and Nikki M. James Talk Les Miz

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28 Apr 2014

Rory O'Malley opens the Easter Bonnet Competition
Rory O'Malley opens the Easter Bonnet Competition
Photo by Monica Simoes

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


First of all, can we all acknowledge that it's the end of April, and it's still cold out? I can't take it! It reminds me of my college alma matter, Oberlin (in Ohio). It would get warm in April and I'd wait for a slew of warm days and finally feel confident to say to say to myself, "This is it! Winter is over!" That statement would always be followed by a blizzard. At the beginning of this April, when it was warm for a minute, I ceremoniously put away my winter coat, certain that Spring had finally arrived. And now all I want to do is wear it buttoned to the top while I type this column.

Anyhoo, I know I've been writing about the Playbill Cruise every week, but I've finally written it all. Now I shall feature some fabulous video footage! Watch Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lewis Black, Howard McGillin, Roger Bart, Tommy Tune, Liz Callaway, Judy Kuhn, Christine Pedi, Lillias White, Ana Gasteyer and Alice Ripley here

Last week began with the fantastic Easter Bonnet Competition. I loved the opening number where Rory O'Malley was told the things he had to collect (a la Bernadette Peters in Into the Woods) in order to win the competition. The number consisted of signature scenes from Broadway musicals that were interrupted by Rory running onstage and snatching something. And he had so many hilarious side comments as he stole them. The first scene was the opening of The Lion King and when they held up the baby Simba, Rory ran on and grabbed it yelling "Amber alert!" Later, when he snatched the actual girl playing Matilda off the stage, he said, "Who cares? There are three more of you." Brava reference to British-style multi-casting.

Terrence McNally wrote the sketch for Mothers and Sons, which had so many inside jokes that I loved. At one point, the little boy from the cast asked Tyne Daly for an Oreo. She told him to look behind a couch cushion and then added, "If you need help, ask Celia Keenan-Bolger." It was a hilarious reference to the beginning of The Glass Menagerie when Celia made her entrance by actually crawling through a couch.

One of the most unintentionally funny parts came at the beginning of the at the beginning of the Mothers and Sons sketch. The host introduced Terrence McNally by implying that he wasn't used to being onstage and, boy, did it turn out to be true. He casually stood there with his hands behind his back, but when he started speaking, his voice was incredibly quiet. We all assumed his body mic wasn't working... until Bobby Steggart ran over and nudged Terrence's arm forward. Why? Because at the end of that arm, which was held casually behind his back, was a hand-held mic. Yes, Terrence had come out on a enormous Broadway stage, started speaking and completely didn't realize he was supposed to use the microphone he had entered with! It got a good two minute laugh from everyone, especially Terrence.


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