ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: My Own TV Network! Plus, a Starry Surprise Party for Mom

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08 May 2012

Sebastian Bach in <i>Jekyll & Hyde</i>
Sebastian Bach in Jekyll & Hyde
Photo by Edward Patino

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


As Sebastian Bach once sang for a limited time on Broadway: "This is the moment"! And by "moment," I mean the beginning of a countdown to the bigger moment which will happen June 18. But it is the moment when you can subscribe! Subscribe to what, you ask? Why, SethTV, of course! "What the H is that?" you ask? I'll tell ya. Last year, my partner James was reading about Oprah starting her own network and told me that I should do the same thing. He thought I should have a TV network where all the shows aren't necessarily starring me (that's where I first took umbrage) but all the shows are "approved" by me. I got over my devastation of not being above the title in every single show and approached two investors who gave me the funding to begin my own online TV network and launch it with a Broadway reality show. And thus, SethTV was born!

Now, I'd been approached a few times in the past about doing a reality show, but I was always wary of giving control of my life to a TV executive. I've done a few reality shows on TV in the past and seen the "reality" completely distorted and manipulated. And I've always been annoyed that TV often has such a "no-one-cares-about-Broadway" attitude — for example, if they happen to show a Broadway song, it's sung by someone who's never done a Broadway show. Or it's pre-recorded and lip-synched. And auto-tuned! I wanted a TV show to feature real Broadway people, with footage of actual rehearsals that aren't faked for the camera and real, actual singing! I started filming last year and the more I got "in the can," as they say in the TV business, the more I couldn't help noticing that each episode also features the panic I'm in most of the day because I'm running late/forgot my music/double-booked myself. So, it's a combination of real Broadway people and living examples of adult ADD!

The exciting news is that everyone can now sign up for a subscription ($5 a month) and the preview of Season One is up on the site! Take a gander at SethTV.com and sign up!

This has been a big week for me. Last Sunday (May 6) was the culmination of weeks of planning. A few months ago I ran into Stephen Spadaro on the Upper West Side. Stephen is one of the company managers of Chicago and the partner of one of my best friends, Paul Castree. He asked about my Mom, and when I mentioned that her 80th birthday was coming up, he suggested I put on a show for her. I loved the idea so I rented Don't Tell Mama and asked my Mom's favorite Broadway singers to come and sing at what I decided should also be a surprise party. When Sunday came, I told my Mom and sister Beth (who was in on it) to take the 11 AM Long Island Railroad train to Manhattan, calculating that it would get them to Don't Tell Mama at noon for the big surprise. Of course, when I told my mother the train schedule, she immediately said to Beth, "When has Seth ever told me what time train to take?" Always suspicious. Then, my Mom was taking a long time getting ready that morning and Beth panicked and told her they had to make the train. My Mom said, "What does it matter? Seth is always late." Yikes. Almost foiled by my horrific reputation.

Thankfully, they made the train and my Mom got to NYC thinking we were meeting for brunch. Then Beth got a (pretend) text from me saying that I was having a little rehearsal at Don't Tell Mama and to meet me there before we went to the restaurant. Beforehand, when I would mention the surprise element of the party to people, a few made jokes like "I hope her heart is strong!" I began to have horrible visions of everyone screaming surprise and then my Mother keeling over, so I told all the Broadway guests we were doing to do a "heart-attack prevention" surprise party. What does that mean? Well, I met my Mom out front, brought her to the back room where I was supposedly still rehearsing and opened the door to the party room. When we walked in, there was no loudly yelled SURPRISE!!!!. Instead, the door opened, my Mom saw everyone standing there and everyone literally did a low-energy, sotto voce, whispered, surprise. Hilarious. And heart-healthy.


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