ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Surviving Concert Chaos and Dishing with Debra Jo Rupp

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18 Nov 2013

Sutton and Seth
Sutton and Seth

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


Hello from Dauphine Street in New Orleans! I'm staying at the lovely Dauphine Orleans hotel and sitting in the outside courtyard writing this. It's November but it's the South, so no coat! Don't tell my mother. (If you don't get that joke, you're not Jewish.) I'm here doing my Broadway@ series with Patti LuPone. This time there will be a star onstage and stars in the audience! Patti said some folks from "American Horror Story" are coming and I'm very excited to meet that coven of witches. Speaking of the Broadway@ series, the Sutton Foster concert we did together Provincetown is about to be released on SethTV.com. Here's the highlight reel. I love this screen shot from when we sang "Summer Nights" together!

So, this week I flew back from Tampa and did Disaster! the next day. Speaking of which, we got video footage from opening night and Jack put together an amazing highlight reel. I can't stop watching it! Look: DisasterMusical.com. Tuesday morning I had to get up early to catch a 7:45 AM ride from NYC to the Westbury Music Fair where I was hosting/playing for a Broadway concert in the afternoon. At 7 AM that morning, I got a text from one of my singers who suddenly got sick! Yowtch! I had 45 minutes until we left. I then remembered that George Dvorsky (who did the first production of Disaster!) does a lot of concerts so I knew he'd probably have repertoire ready to go. I then had the chutzpah to text him at 7:10 AM. He later told me he never has his cell phone on, but forgot to turn it off the night before. As soon as he heard it chime he thought (Jackie Hoffman-style), "Who died?" He called me back at 7:20 AM and told me he could do that concert. Yay!

He asked me what time it was that night. I then broke the news that it was in the afternoon. There was a silence, then he explained he was at his house in Pennsylvania. Also, he was expecting a delivery and had to stay there until it came. He hung up and I thought about the 2,400 ticket holders who expected five singers! Who the hell else would be up at this hour, have a lot of material and be able to do it with no rehearsal? Ten minutes later, George called me back and told me that a neighbor was going to wait for his delivery and he was going to drive to NYC, stop by his apartment for music and a suit and then drive to Westbury and make it for the 2 PM show. Yay! The rest of the singers then got into the luxurious limo that the booker (Tony Rende) had gotten for us. It was enormous. We probably could have fit 15 people in the back. For rizzle! Or as Adrienne Barbou probably said, "For Rizzo".

Anyhoo, as we were driving one of my singers (who shall remain nameless!) very, very politely asked if we could pull over because she wasn't feeling 100%. She was so polite, I assumed it wasn't that big of a deal so I casually asked the driver to go to the side of the road for a moment. Well, as soon as we pulled over, she ran the hell out of the limo. I didn't see or hear anything, but I think I know what happened. She got back in, mortified, and soon we were on the Long Island Expressway again. Thirty minutes later, we heard another softly-intoned, "If you don't mind, would you please pull over to the side?" Yet again, the politeness was in direct contrast to how much she needed to purge. After the second time, she laid down on the back seat and shut down emotionally until we got there.


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