ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Only Make Believe! Disneyland! The Book of Mormon in L.A.!

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14 Nov 2012

Seth at the Only Make Believe benefit
Seth at the Only Make Believe benefit
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

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


Why isn't my column coming out during its regular Monday time? OK, here we go. First of all, my devastating travel stories usually involve me almost missing my plane and it's often because I'm late or I've gone to the wrong airport or some other "I Love Lucy"-type plot. This time, I got a cab with plenty of time to spare. Delish! However, halfway to JFK, my driver suddenly pulled over to the side of the road. He got out and told me that he suspected the engine needed anti-freeze. I then saw why he was slightly concerned; there was smoke pouring out from underneath the hood! I don't know much about cars, but I assumed that more smoke than Act Two of Wicked wasn't a sign of a healthy engine. After he poured in anti-freeze he told me he wanted to stop at a gas station and buy some more. Why? Because there was still smoke pouring out.

He stopped at a station, poured more in and I assumed everything was fine…until a car pull up alongside us and I saw the driver pointing frantically at the cab with a horrified expression. I don't understand sign language but I do understand the universal sign for "There is something crazy going on with your cab!" I told the driver and he said that the anti-freeze was probably dripping out of the car. He put on the hazards…and then promptly got on the Van Wyck Expressway! It was "fun" to be on a fast highway and not know what it means to have no anti-freeze; were we suddenly going to stop in the middle of a lane? Were we about to blow up?

I tried to think back to the Drivers Ed course that I took senior year but not only did it take place in 1984, it was also at 7 AM in the morning. I was constantly half-asleep. The only thing I retained back then was water from my high sodium diet.

I sat in the back of the cab and didn't know if anti-freeze leakage was something to be terrified about or something that simply looked bad but didn't really mean anything. While I was worrying whether I should be worrying, my cab pulled over and hailed another cab to finish my ride to JFK. I paid the first cab driver and he gave some cash to the second driver. I arrived at the airport on time but frazzled from my near-fatal or not-at-all-a big-deal experience. I went into a guilt panic because I didn't know if I needed to pay the new cab driver even though he got paid by the first one. I got out of the cab, thanked him and he drove off without complaining. Delicious! The deliciousness faded away quickly when I then realized I left my backpack in his cab. Which contained my CD and the DVD for the show I was flying to California to do. It also, sadly, contained my laptop. And because I didn't pay the second cab driver, I had no (zero) receipt. Yay! I got out of paying extra cash for the second cab and because of that lost a $1,500 computer. What a fair trade-off!

Seth with Ian Morton

Last week began much better with the annual Only Make Believe benefit on Broadway. Only Make Believe brings theatre to hospitalized kids. The benefit performances played the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, an exciting location because the Tony Award-winning Once is playing there. However, the set of Once is not ideal for a benefit. Who wants to do a splashy joyous benefit in a dark, hasn't-been-cleaned-for-years Irish pub? It all wound up being fine, however, and the show had some fantastic acts. I sat in the audience before I went on with Ashley Brown and Kerry Butler. Right before it started, an adorable four-year-old boy came up to me and said, "Excuse me, sir… I love listening to your radio show!" I said, "Thank you so much!," and asked, "Are you an actor?" He looked serious and responded, "I'm not an actor or an actress." Obsessed! I then saw my friend Lee Armitage (whom I met on the rFamily Cruises) and she told me that Ian is her (and Euan Morton's) son. And, P.S., Ian is an actor. I had recently seen a video of him in a cabaret singing a song that most four-year-olds know by heart: "Stars" from Les Miz. Watch!  And just to show our similarities, here's me at age 3 singing from The Most Happy Fella


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