ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Seth's Easter Bonnet Antics With Ann Harada, Tom Hanks and More

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29 Apr 2013

Ann Harada at <i>Easter Bonnet</i>.
Ann Harada at Easter Bonnet.
Monica Simoes

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

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Last week began with the 23rd Easter Bonnet Competition and it was so much fun. I wrote the lyrics to the opening number and had a little cameo in the middle. The jokes at first focused on the fact that the show is called the Easter Bonnet Competition, yet Easter was weeks ago. One of the dancers asked, "What about Passover?" and another one waves her away with, "Passover, Shamshover!" and then one of the dancers asks in a panic, "'Smash' is over???" At that point, I wrote that Ann Harada (who plays the stage manager on "Smash" should run across the stage and yell, "No-o-o-o-o-o!" She did it as written but added her own line: "It's on Saturdays!" You can watch the whole number here.

Before the show, Ann and I were backstage and Andrea Martin came out of the elevator. I introduced Andrea to Ann, not realizing they'd known each other for years. Then I introduced Andrea to one of the stage managers, not realizing she'd worked with him for the entire run of one of her Broadway shows. Ann looked at me and said "Next, you're going to introduce her to Martin Short." Brava (again) Ann! (If you don't know, Andrea and Martin did Godspell together in 1972 and have been best buddies since.)

Speaking of Martin Short, I saw him and fellow Godspell alum Victor Garber at the Pippin opening night party. Andrea had so many of her good friends there including Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman! I was shocked to see them because I know their new musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is about to start previews in London. They told me they were "playing hooky" for two days because two of their closest friends were opening on Broadway: Andrea in Pippin and Bette Midler in I'll Eat You Last. It was 10:30 PM when we chatted and they were mortified they had to be up to take a car to the airport the next day at 5:30 AM! They told me that a few boys rotate the role of Charlie because of British labor laws but they think that just one will play him on Broadway. I'm not volunteering per se, but let me just put out there that I love candy...

Back to Easter Bonnet. There were so many great moments, especially Jen Cody as Little Sally and Don Richard as Officer Lockstock. Even though Urinetown closed years ago, they make an appearance every year to roast Broadway. One of my favorite lines referenced Doris Eaton Travis, who was the last living Zigfield Girl. She passed away last year at the age of 106. Officer Lockstock looked wistful and said "If Doris Eaton Travis were alive today…" and Little Sally cut in with "…she'd be the youngest person in Chicago." Hilarious!

At the end of the show, Tom Hanks, Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper came out to announce the winners and how much money had been raised. Cyndi still talks like she hasn't left the heart of Brooklyn, and at one point she looked at Harvey and said, "You see? I ain't that dumb!" He nodded and commented, "You're right! It's just the accent." I love that he busted her! I must ask, how is she able to sing completely accentless, yet insists on speaking like she's at a final call-back for Audrey in Little Shop? Anybody? Not since Jim Nabors.



Continued...

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