By Seth Rudetsky
02 Jul 2012
|Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for 54 Below|
Speaking of 54 Below (the new nightclub underneath Studio 54), I went back to see Brian d'Arcy James do his show. It was so good. His music choices were great, and he did them with Clarke Thorell and Haven Burton singing back-up while accompanied by a huge band. And, everything had a great arrangement/piano playing from music director/composer Dan Lipton. I was most impressed that Brian's "patter" was the most unscripted I've ever heard. I always get a little uncomfortable when I hear people do material between songs that I know they've been doing "off the cuff" for the last two years, but he really seemed like he was making it up on the spot. He talked about being on his high school's basketball team (!) and having to make Sophie's Choice: there was going to "the" game against his Catholic school's arch rival… or a Billy Joel concert in nearby Ann Arbor. He was completely 100% obsessed with Billy Joel and didn't know what to do until his normally follow-the-rules parents told him that they'd back him up if he said there was a "family emergency" that night that prevented him from going to the game. He skipped the game, saw the concert and was blown away. Of course, the coach then found out his family emergency was less emergency and more two hours of non-stop songs like "Movin' Out" and "She's Always A Woman." Sadly, Brian was benched for the rest of the season. But, he said, that concert laid the groundwork for his first New York City act 30 years later, and indeed it did, because almost the whole thing was Billy Joel songs! I didn’t know many of them, but they were all so good, and I thought, "There should be a Billy Joel musical." Not to brag, but I'm obviously a psychic whose specialty is reading thoughts that happened ten years ago to Twyla Tharp.
Brian spoke about all the time it took to get into make-up when he played Shrek and how all the members of the cast made him mix-tapes so he'd have something to listen to while he went through the process. I made a hilarious Obsessed video with him where he talks about getting out of the make-up and an annoying women who watched the process one day. Watch!
On Tuesday I go to Provincetown! I'm doing my 70s Variety Deconstructing Show (focusing heavily on the "Brady Bunch Variety Hour") and then on Wednesday I start Patti LuPone's show. All three shows sold-out last week, so we just added a fourth! I have amazing people booked there all summer: Patti, then Faith Prince, Mario Cantone, Marilyn Maye, Betty Buckley, Charles Busch, Megan Mullally, Judy Kuhn and Alice Ripley! Get tickets for my show and all the Broadway series here: www.PtownArtHouse.com. Speaking of Charles Busch, I just did an Obsessed video with him. I'm such a fan.
OK. I have to go ASAP. Why? Because Andrea Martin is standing in back of me and wants us to return the pillows we just got from Gracious Home and get another set in green. Couldn't be more excited!
(Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon Broadway host on SiriusXM. He has played piano for over 15 Broadway shows, was Grammy-nominated for his concert CD of Hair and Emmy-nominated for being a comedy writer on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." He has written two novels, "Broadway Nights" and "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan," which are also available at Audible.com. He recently launched SethTV.com, where you can contact him and view all of his videos and his sassy new reality show.)