ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Adam Chanler-Berat, Lance Bass, Varla Jean Merman Plus Seth TV, In Magical Colors

By Seth Rudetsky
17 Sep 2012

Photo by Lauren Kennedy

I will start the next section by going back many years. In 1989 when I was 22, I was hired to be assistant music director on new musical out of town. It was going to be at the Studio Arena Theater in Buffalo..in the winter! I knew it would be freezing, but it was one of my first job offers, so I was very excited. I met with the composer and music director, and the meeting was decidedly not fun. First, I mortified them because when I met the female composer, I did my signature, "Hi, sister." Then I asked what kind of say I'd have as an assistant music director. "Hopefully none." I was told. I was there to do what the music director told me. He also warned me to call the theatre because they were notorious for taking advantage of musicians. I needed to make sure there weren't endless hours of rehearsal and there were definite breaks throughout rehearsal. I called the number he gave me. Of course, I stammered when the phone was answered. "Hi…" I asked, nervously. "Are you the producer…guy?" I then heard, angrily, "I am the producer." Excellent. "Oh, great!" I continued. "I was just hired as the assistant music director. I wanted to ask about the rehearsal day."


"How long is it?"

"We rehearse until we are done!" he responded, just as angrily.

The conversation didn’t get much better, and a few hours later I got a call from the music director. "Well, Seth," I was told, "you managed to offend a lot of people today!" "What?" I asked. "You told me to call that guy and ask about breaks and rehearsal length!"

"You're fired!"

Oy! I was, of course, very depressed from the whole ordeal. Well, the years went by and I found out that the theatre went bankrupt. Yikes! It reopened on Friday night for the first time in four years with a new name: the 710 Main Theatre. Let me simply say it was a delicious feeling that the show chosen for their grand opening was Seth's Big Fat Broadway! That's right… 23 years later, instead of sitting alone and depressed in my Brooklyn apartment after being fired, I was standing center stage in front of a sold-out 600 person audience!

Speaking of out of town, I'll be in Milwaukee on Oct. 4 and 5 at Vogel Hall (http://www.marcuscenter.org/Seth-Rudetsky-Big-Fat-Broadway.html) and I'll be in Pittsburgh at the City Theater at the end of October (http://citytheatre.culturaldistrict.org/production/34856/). And, don't forget to visit the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Flea Market on Sunday, Sept. 22. I'll still be in Provincetown, but I’ll have a booth full of amazing Chatterbox DVDs and autographed books. And now, for my fellow Jews, Happy New Year!

(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.)