ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Megan Mullally and Seth in a Land Down Under

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26 Feb 2013

Seth and Paul Castree in front of the Sydney Bridge
Seth and Paul Castree in front of the Sydney Bridge

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


Hello from a bright summer's day! That's right, I'm writing to you from Sydney, Australia, which is in the Southern hemisphere where the seasons are reversed. That means I'm experiencing their version of August. It's actually very similar to our version of August but with a few more "G'day's." Speaking of that stereotype, I have to tell you Australians really do say that! Though I have yet to hear anyone ask for more "shrimp on the Barbie." However, they do insist I order coffee by calling it either a "flat white" or "long black." I still don't know what either of those terms mean but they're both delicious. I'm in so-called Oz doing five shows with Megan Mullally. I left on Monday, Feb. 18 with my good pal Paul Castree. My contract had another ticket designated for James but he felt he couldn't leave rehearsals since we're doing those four plays in March (Perfect time for a plug for my collection of one-acts, Midtown March Medley). I mentioned my extra ticket to Paul and he jokingly said he'd go. Cut to: The joke became reality. It was perfect because he and Megan know each other really well since we all did Grease! together on Broadway in 1994 and then he and Megan were roommates in L.A.

Paul and I first had to fly to Los Angeles for an hour layover before we took our 14-hour flight to Sydney. Well, I sat in my seat on the L.A.-bound plane and right before we were going to take off, I suddenly saw someone get on who looked familiar: It was my friend Ana Gasteyer! She lives in New York but flies back and forth to L.A. to play Sheila Shay on "Suburgatory." I was so excited to see her. So was she, until she looked at her ticket and told me I was sitting in her seat. Busted. We wound up switching seats and settled down…for a two-hour delay! I was in a panic because we only had a one-hour layover at LAX til our next flight. Thankfully, they held the Australian flight and Paul and I landed in Sydney the next morning at 9 AM.

We went to our super-fancy five-star hotel, which was so fancy that we didn't know how anything worked. Seriously. First of all, there was no way to simply turn on a lamp. There were only switches on the wall that said "morning," "evening" and "night" and they chose how the lighting was in the entire room. So, if you woke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you had no way of just turning on the bathroom light. You had to choose one of the three options, which also turned on the room lights. Yay? Speaking of the bathroom, there was no "room" in the bathroom. There was a separate shower and separate toilet and they both opened up into our bedroom. So, if Paul or I wanted to take a shower, we had to tell the other one to look away because as soon as you stepped out of the shower you were immediately in full view of the entire room and starring in a live version of "Girls Gone Wild." The other "fun" part was, the internet didn't work and it took hours to get it fixed. Why so long? Because the internet person rang our doorbell and, in an Australian fancy hotel, a doorbell sound has no relation to the sound of any other doorbell in the world.

Paul was waiting for the internet to be fixed and heard a soft electronic "beep boop bop beep" noise like a 1970s Spaceship being programmed. He told me later that he looked around the room and thought, "OK…I guess all systems are a go." Then he heard it again. He looked around to see if there was something flashing. Nothing. He picked up the phone. "Hello?" *Silence* Finally, a half hour passed and he thought, "Wait a minute. Could it be?" He went into the hallway, pushed the doorbell and heard the random beeping sounds of the Star Trek Enterprise.

Now Paul was prepared. The internet guy came back and as soon Paul heard the sound of a Moog synthesizer, he opened the door. P.S., when the guy came back he told Paul that he had heard him walking around inside the room when he first rang. For reals? Then why couldn't he follow his bizarre ring with an actual old-fashioned knock? Too old school?


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