How Did Will Swenson Spice Up His Latest Performance of ‘The Confrontation’ In Concert?

Seth Rudetsky   How Did Will Swenson Spice Up His Latest Performance of ‘The Confrontation’ In Concert?
This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Seth shares the details of his concert with Will Swenson, how he surprised Terrence Mann, and a hint about a guest performer for Deconstructing Patti.
Will Swenson and Seth Rudetsky
Will Swenson and Seth Rudetsky Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Hello from Maine! This week I went from Provincetown to Long Island to NYC to Huntsville, Alabama to Indianapolis, Indiana to Bangor, Maine! I first went to Long Island to do Deconstructing Broadway at Molloy College and I had a great time! I was just watching old deconstructing clips on YouTube and there are so many I’ve forgotten about! This is a deconstruction of a song I think it so outrageously funny and what I love about the power of the internet is that the original singer, whose name isn’t on the recording, posted comments giving me inside scoop under my deconstruction! Yes the amazing/hilarious high soprano you’re about to hear is Deb Del Mastro from Nunsense. Listen! (Warning: there is some shocking language!)

Speaking of deconstructions, I would like to express my condolences—by way of deconstructions—to Liz Callaway and her sister Ann Hampton Callaway. They lost their mother, Shirley, last week and I know they were extremely close to her.


Shirley was a wonderful musician (and voice teacher to the stars) and she obviously gave her daughters her wonderful musical genes. Here’s Liz Callaway, one of her extraordinarily talented daughters:

And here’s Liz’s sister, Ann Hampton Callaway, showing her deep musical talent:

I also did Deconstructing Broadway in Huntsville, Alabama. I was at the Randolph School, which has a great arts program, and the audience was wonderful! The next day I flew to Indianapolis to perform with Will Swenson. We had the best time! We sang a “mash-up,” as the kids say, of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” that bizarrely segued to “The Confrontation” from Les Miz. Will sang Javert and was angrily stalking me as I played the piano and performed Valjean. He then started acting out his Javert anger by throwing whatever was nearby at me, including roses from the floral display and then, for the denoument, pouring a glass of water (!) over my head!

Will Swenson and Seth Rudetsky
Will Swenson and Seth Rudetsky

It was totally spontaneous…but paid off amazingly because we eventually segue’d back to “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and, for the last phrase, I was able to keep playing/singing yet reach to the floor and gently hand him one of the discarded roses. Brava!

Will and I also began the afternoon by promoting the fact that the cabaret was getting a new venue. Yes, we did a photo shoot as construction workers. Check it out!

During the show, I asked Will about the day he was nominated for a Tony Award for Hair. He didn’t watch it on TV and found out from his sister. He extra excited because that very day he was slated to speak at his son’s elementary school. Will thought it would be so perfect to talk about being an actor and be able to tout the fact that he had just been nominated. He brought props with him and had an entire bit prepared where he played a pirate. He was feeling very cocky and in the middle of the pirate monologue he was most proud of, a 5-year-old boy in the back row leaned back and yelled “BO-RING”! Will loved how it immediately diffused his ego.

On Seth Speaks I had the wonderful Melissa Manchester who just came out with a new album called The Fellas, which has tons of songs recorded by the great male singers of yesterday like Mel Torme, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, etc. She sings a duet with Barry Manilow, who I thought she knew from fancy record industry parties but, turns out, she knows him because they were both jingle singers! Here they are doing their song from the new album which is a tribute to Gene Kelly:

Halfway through her interview, I brought in someone who was getting the surprise of his life…Terrence Mann! Terry is a huge, huge, fan of Melissa Manchester. Turns out, they even met one time; back in the early ’80s, he was in Barnum, directed by Joe Layton, and Melissa’s act was also being directed by Joe. Terry was having a birthday party at Joe’s apartment and suddenly, the doorbell rang. Terry opened it there was Melissa Manchester who wished him a happy birthday. He flipped out! As he tells it, she was his birthday present that year.

He told me all of this on the Playbill cruise so when I heard she was coming on my show, I told Terry to come to SiriusXm and I’d have a surprise for him. I had fellow Playbill cruiser Andréa Burns keep him occupied and then texted her to enter the studio. The door opened, he saw Melissa sitting there and his face went into such surprise and joy it was amazing!! He was so amazed to be in Melissa’s presence and told her that is was her music that got him through being an unemployed actor in North Carolina during the late ’70s. After he gushed and gushed, Melissa sang “Midnight Blue” for him and he was in heaven and I could see Andréa, another Melissa super fan, in the audience mouthing “Oh my God!” to me. Andréa loves her so much that she named her CD A Deeper Shade Of Red after a phrase in “Through The Eyes Of Grace,” one of Melissa’s gorgeous song, If you don’t know that song, listen here.

Speaking of Andréa, she has a big show coming up next Monday, September 25 at The Sheen Center. She is a great singer who is also hilarious. Get tickets here.
Then watch my deconstruction of the song Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote for her:

And finally, next Sunday September 24 is my big concert with Patti LuPone on Broadway! She is doing a slew of her most amazing songs and I’ve been arranging various guest stars from her past Broadway shows to join her. I can’t say who any of them are, but here’s a hint at one of them.

You can get tickets at It will be a thrilling and incredible one-of-a-kind night…for me!!! And, hopefully, for you as well. Peace out!

Here’s another Deconstruction of a fabulous diva:


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