ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Cruising With Anika Larsen, Plus Don't Tell Mama

By Seth Rudetsky
16 Jul 2013

Like mother, like son
When the time came, however, Juli was too scared to do it because, thankfully, she has some semblance of shame. However, Elizabeth had created a monster: My mom became obsessed with using the elevator as her own Second City and every time we got on, we never knew what inappropriate comment she was going to haul out to try to make us play a scene. Soon, and I'm not joking, Elizabeth started taking the stairs to avoid my mother trying to rope her into The Groundlings. On the last day, Elizabeth had an enormous suitcase and still insisted on lugging it down the stairs rather than share an elevator with the star of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

Speaking of my mom, she showed up to one of the cruise shows wearing the same shirt I was wearing! I had no choice but to recreate the "Arrested Development" moment where Lucille Bluth and her son Buster pose on the cover of a magazine to promote the article "Why I Want to Marry My Mother."

This week I'm getting ready to go to Provincetown with Audra McDonald for shows July 21-22 as part of my Broadway series at the Art House (for tix, get thee to PtownArtHouse.com), and we were talking about the Dreamgirls concert I did with her for the Actors Fund. At first, it was going to happen while she was pregnant, but she went into early labor and was suddenly put on bed rest until she gave birth. She had to lay in bed, on her side, for four months!

She was also told not to gain too much weight but wound up becoming obsessed with cheeseburgers from a local diner. As soon as her husband would leave, she'd check to make sure he was really gone, then have her assistant call the diner and order up cheeseburgers. Then she would open all the windows to get rid of the smell and light incense. When her husband came home, she'd haul out the routine of, "All I had today was a salad." Speaking of Audra, she's coming on the Playbill Cruise to Tahiti next year!