ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Braving Snowstorms With Sutton Foster and Anika Larsen's Beautiful Audition

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03 Feb 2014

Sutton Foster
Sutton Foster
Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

A week in the life of actor, radio and TV host, music director and writer Seth Rudetsky.


I started the week in New Orleans. Before you get all jealous about the warm weather and amazing food, let me tell you what happened: I went there to do one of my Broadway @ series, this time with Sutton Foster.

The show was super fun, and Sutton did some of her signature songs ("I Get A Kick Out of You", "Gimme Gimme") and some that she never does ("I Still Believe In Love" from They're Playing Our Song and "Roll in the Hay" from Young Frankenstein). Speaking of "Roll in the Hay," she told us that she was asked during rehearsals whether she could yodel. She said yes (she could not) and then immediately got a CD called "You, Too Can Yodel" but sassily spelled "U 2 Can Yodel." She practiced and, turns out, she's now amazing at it. Watch

Sutton also talked about her new TV show which is called "Younger" and was created by Darren Starr. It's about a 40-year-old divorcee who can't get a job... until she pretends to be 26! However, she said that the show has recently considered raising her character's age to 29. She paused and said she didn't know whether or not to be insulted.

Before I flew down to New Orleans, I had heard that there was going to be a winter storm in the South. I was nervous my Tuesday plane back home would be delayed but was relieved that it was scheduled for 6:15 AM (Sutton's was at 6 AM), and the storm wasn't supposed to hit until 10 AM. I knew I'd have a few hours leeway before it all began. On Monday night, I was having dinner before my show with Sutton when I got a phone call from Mark Cortale, the Broadway @ producer. He told me that Sutton's plane had been moved to 5:30 AM. Yowtch, that's early! I felt bad for her but then felt much worse when he told me that my plane wasn't moved earlier... it was simply cancelled! I assumed it was because the storm was supposed to hit a lot earlier. It wasn't. It was still not getting there until 10 AM. And, PS, the "storm" was supposed to dump a whole... wait for it... half an inch of snow.

Apparently, they can't function in the snow because the planes have no de-icing machines and they can't de-ice the runways. I was in a full panic that I wasn't going to get a flight home and I'd miss Disaster! I immediately tried to get on Sutton's flight and was told it was sold out. What followed was hours of me, Mark and James trying to get me out of there. I even tried to get on an Amtrak train out of New Orleans to another city where I'd get a flight. Turns out, the only Amtrak that comes to New Orleans was scheduled for 7 AM the next day... and was already cancelled! I was having a breakdown.

Finally, Mark got me on a flight that left New Orleans at 6:45 and then went to Houston. The Houston flight would then get me in around 4:30 PM. Of course, James checked and found out that Houston was already being hit by the storm and everything was being cancelled. I knew I might not make it back to New York, but I didn't want to deal with it. I simply shut down emotionally (a wonderful tactic learned from a horrific childhood) and did Sutton's show. Then I decided I would go with Sutton to the airport the next morning and get on the waitlist for her flight. I got my wake-up call (at 3:30 AM!) and Sutton and I went to the airport. It was so early that we were both wearing the same amount of make-up (none). We got dropped off and I trepidatiously approached the counter. I took a deep breath and asked if I could get on the wait list.


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