Audra McDonald Recalls Meeting Seth Rudetsky — And Says He's Become a "Heroic" Father | Playbill

Playbill Pride Audra McDonald Recalls Meeting Seth Rudetsky — And Says He's Become a "Heroic" Father As part of Playbill's 30 Days of Pride, award-winning actress Audra McDonald reflects on the achievements of husbands and fathers Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley and the hope their daughter Juli gives her for the future.


I first met Seth Rudestky in 1989 at a cattle call for summer stock. He was the audition pianist. Seth will dispute this fact and say that we met somewhere else. We have been arguing about this fact for more than 20 years now.

What is not in dispute is that he has not changed in all of the years I have known him. His incredible joy and passion for musical theatre, his uncanny ability to make me guffaw with laughter, his incredible musical talent, and, most of all, his unwavering dedication to making the world better makes him like a superhero. He has always been out and about helping to save the world and taking care of others in one way or another. Whether it's producing benefits for charities of all kinds including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, bringing live music to prisoners afflicted with AIDS, raising awareness for animal rights, or being a voice for the voiceless foster children of our area.

James, Juli and Seth
James, Juli and Seth Photo by Monica Simoes

No wonder it was such a perfect match when he met and fell in love with his now husband, James Wesley, almost ten years ago. James was another superhero. James was not only just as sweet, funny, talented, compassionate, and fiercely dedicated to social causes and giving, but James also brought something new into Seth's life, his young daughter Juli.

Two superheroes had fallen in love. Even more perfect was that the match had become a trio. Never have I seen more loving and dedicated parenting than I have with James and Seth as they raise Juli. What strikes me most, however, is the obvious effects their parenting has had on Juli. She is growing into such a beautifully poised, supported, loving, hilarious, talented, and, most importantly, concerned citizen of the world. She is very involved in all of the social causes her dads are. She is dedicated to helping those less fortunate than she, she is becoming a voice for the voiceless children in our society, and she is helping in the fight for marriage equality. As amazing as Seth and James and all of their accomplishments are, the one that fills me with the most joy and hope is Juli. Why? Because these two dads are raising their own little superhero to go out and save the world. Just like them.

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