ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Getting Kinky With Stark Sands; Anything Goes for Rachel York

By Seth Rudetsky
28 May 2013

Seth with Rachel York
Photo by Robb Johnston

This week I had the amazing Rachel York on my SiriusXM show, Seth Speaks. I subbed in the orchestra and, at one point, was associate conductor for one of her big Broadway shows, Victor/Victoria. Speaking of Tony nominations, it's so completely mind-boggling that she wasn't nominated for her portrayal of Norma. She was beautiful, sounded great and got some of the biggest, and I mean biggest, laughs I've ever heard in all my years playing Broadway shows. Here she is doing a short scene in Act Two. I'm obsessed with the relentless nervous giggling at the beginning. Watch it here!

Right now, she's starring as Reno Sweeney in the national tour of Anything Goes where she gets to show off her tapping chops, but the one thing she doesn't use is her amazing skill at impersonations. She can really recreate voices so well and I remember my friend, Joe Thalken (whom I subbed for on Victor/Victoria), telling me about tech rehearsal. It led to a quote we now always say to each other. The cast was doing mic checks, and when Rachel was asked to test her mic, she did it by singing "I Have Confidence" as Julie Andrews. Julie heard her and simply said, "Can it, Rachel!" Joe and I are obsessed with saying that phrase in Julie's voice. It's like when "Top Chef" judges talk about the different flavors in a dish; "Can it, Rachel" as Julie Andrews has all the directness and sass of the expression but is tempered with her signature soprano voice and British accent.

Rachel also talked about doing Victor/Victoria the month that Liza Minelli replaced Julie. First of all, I'm so crazily excited that Liza is back on Netflix' new "Arrested Development" episodes. Her vertigo collapses that happen every time the door closes in the first episode are hilarious. Anyhoo, Liza didn't have a lot of time to rehearse, but nailed the first performance. After that, it was similar to what happens with understudies; they focus incredibly hard on their first performance, do it perfectly and as soon as they relax for the second performance, they start to make mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes happened at the end of the first act. Victoria is supposed to tell Toddy (played by Tony Roberts), "Even when I was a second-rate hoofer, I had my own dressing room." Unfortunately, one night it came out, "Even when I was a second-rate hooker, I had my own dressing room." Brava! A whole new backstory was added to the character.



OK! Don't forget about my Unbroken Circle discount code; go to BroadwayOffers.com and put in UCSETH. I hope I see "y'all" (the show takes place in Galveston) there. Peace out!