ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: I'm Gonna Be a Producer; Wisdom from David Merrick and Annaleigh Ashford's Kinky Accent

By Seth Rudetsky
06 May 2013

Dan Bucatinsky

The week began with a fundraiser for the Family Equality Council, which is an organization that focuses on changing various policies/attitudes to get equal treatment for all families. For instance, one of their recent coups is on the college financial application: when Juli eventually applies for financial aid (and believe me, she's gonna have to!) instead of having to fill out a line for "mother" and "father," the application will now read "parent" and "parent." It may sound inconsequential, but it's so nice for her to not feel like an outsider. (And for us, too; I'm sick of being listed as the mother!) Jenn Chrisler, who recently stepped down as the head of Family Equality Council was honored at the dinner. She is one of the people responsible for getting families with gay parents to participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll and she famously faced down the lies of Bill O'Reilly. I love how totally calm she is. Watch!

Dan Bucatinsky from TV's "Scandal" and "Web Therapy" was super sweet and invited James and me to sit at his table. He has two kids with his partner Don Roos, the writer/director of "The Opposite of Sex," one of my favorite films. Dan wrote the current bestseller "Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?," which is about his hilarious/moving experiences adopting and co-parenting his two kids. He was introduced by his bestest friend Linda Wallem and her partner, rock star Melissa Etheridge. If you don't know, Linda is an incredibly successful television writer/creator ("Nurse Jackie") but I remember her from the late 80's (!) when I was playing piano in Greenwich Village at a piano bar called 88's and she was a singing waitress!

88's is also where Dan met Linda and where Closer Than Ever began. Dan's speech was adorable and he reminisced about the night he met Don playing "Celebrity" with Linda. He'll never forget Don swaying his hips trying make Dan guess "Hula" which naturally rhymes with "Rula" as in "Rula Lenska." Anybody? Speaking of embarrassing behavior at games, a new episode of "Broadway Game Night" is up on SethTV. The preview is so good! Especially obsessed with how guests Orfeh and Max Crumm vibrato in this little clip.



Back to Family Equality Council. Also at our table was Debra Monk who told us the dirtiest jokes that I cannot print. But I will tell you the set ups: "What did Cinderella say when she got to the ball?" and "How do you make Martha Stewart scream twice?" Hi-larious (if you know the punch lines).

On Tuesday, I went to another fundraiser. Norm Lewis asked me if I'd play for him for a dinner where they were honoring Tony Goldwyn (they're both on "Scandal," just like Dan). The evening was for The Innocence Project, which helps exonerate people who have been convicted of crimes they haven't committed. The event was so phenomenally moving and inspiring. When Tony Goldwyn accepted his honor he told us to take a moment and think about the people right now who are innocent but are locked up in a 5x9 cell. Then, a group of around 20 men who had been released from prison because they were innocent walked onstage. These men had been incarcerated for 10, 15, 20 and 25 years…And some of them were on death row…for crimes they didn't commit! Think about what you were doing 25 years ago, and imagine being in jail all those years.

 Continued...