ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Patti LuPone Makes Dreams Come True and Getting Sexy With Megan Mullally

By Seth Rudetsky
03 Sep 2013

Varla Jean Merman
Photo by Rex Bonomelli

I saw Varla Jean Merman's show called Twice Upon a Mattress. The show had a fairy tale theme and at one point, Varla went into the audience and chatted with a male audience member whom Varla insisted wanted to be a fairy princess. She handed him a long red wig and then took a photo of him with the wig on. Afterwards she promised to put the photo on Facebook she asked, "Have you ever run for office?" He answered, "No," and she added, "Well, now you can't." Varla came back to the stage and began acting sincere, asking him, "Were you moved? Did I touch you?" When he answered yes, she did indeed touch him, Varla immediately said, "I thought so," and slathered anti-bacterial gel on her hands. Hilarious. At one point in the show, Varla told the audience that she opted out of making a brand new video and instead was going to show a bunch of old clips in a montage. She then explained, "Montage is a French word... for lazy." Varla (real name Jeffrey Roberson) and I will do two shows at 54 Below Sept. 29-30. Details at varlaonline.com.

I also saw Coco Peru's show and thought it was great! It began with her singing "I Don't Know Why I Go To Extremes" and walking down the aisle. We were in the front row and the theatre where she performed doesn't have a stage so she was right, and I mean right, in front of us. During the opening song, Miss Coco walked right up to someone sitting next to me in the front row, pointed to herself and said, "Not so pretty close up, huh?" Brava! In one part of her show she was raging about Facebook and was talking about how annoying/bizarre it is to see a status that says, "Mother died peacefully five minutes ago." "Five minutes ago? And you're on Facebook?" Then she talked about the quandary you get in when you see a status like that. Do you press "like"? Then she talked about how you spend a half hour reading everyone's expressions of sympathy so you can seem original. Exactly!

Coco also talked about Bea Arthur, because they were friends in real life. She said she called Bea once and when Coco asked how she was, Bea said her stomach was upset. Bea then said, "That's right, Coco. Even big stars get... the diarrhea." Coco now uses that as a way to deal with pretentious people. When she's with someone who's acting snobby, she thinks, "Oh, please. Even you get... the diarrhea."

This week begins 20at20 where you can see any Off-Broadway show, like Unbroken Circle, by showing up 20 minutes before curtain time and then get tickets for $20! The discount goes Sept. 3-20. Brava! Peace out and Happy Rosh Hashana!

(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.)