Onstage & Backstage: Why Hunter Foster and Jen Cody Would Kick Butt On "The Amazing Race"

News   Onstage & Backstage: Why Hunter Foster and Jen Cody Would Kick Butt On "The Amazing Race"
This week's look into the life of Seth Rudetsky reveals the Broadway couple's hidden talent for travel, plus hilarious adventures and encounters with Lindsay Mendez, Hunter Foster and Jen Cody on the Playbill cruise to Asia!


Hello from somewhere between Dubai and JFK! I'm on the last leg of the flights home from the Playbill cruise. We took a 9 PM flight from Singapore to Dubai (seven hours) and now we're on an Emirates flight for "only" 14 hours. Our bodies have gotten used to being 12 hours ahead so I can't wait to be back in NYC and readjust to the time difference. See you in two weeks when I'm still complaining constantly about being tired and "on Asian time." The good news is we're in full fancy business class and James is in the amazing lie-flat bed next to me, completely tucked in. He's plugged his headphones into the onboard audio system that has an entire album that's supposed to help you sleep. It immediately reminded me of an SCTV parody commercial about an album of soothing love songs…performed by Andrea Martin as Ethel Merman. It's called "Wake Up And Love Me" and it was hilarious. Anybody? I couldn't find it online, but I found this amazing commercial for Annie starring Andrea Martin as a long-running Andrea McArdle, smoking and singing everything an octave down.


Anyhoo, this is one of those super cool planes where the business class is upstairs. A.K.A. Juli is downstairs in economy. But even coach is really nice on Emirates. Of course, the most amazing is first class where you can close the door (!) next to your seat and you can actually take a shower! P.S. I’ll tell you who else besides James is having no problem sleeping: the man across the aisle. I'm hearing the kind of snoring you hear on commercials featuring old-school Borscht Belt comedians. Where's my first class door so I can block out that deviated septum? I'll write about the cruise to distract myself. I think the last time I wrote was when we were on our way to Bangkok, Thailand. The performers got a private tour guide and bus to take us around, starting at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It was beautiful…for ten minutes. Extreme heat followed, which led to a constant "Does any place sell a not-weird version of iced coffee around here?" from me. We got back on the bus and headed to a great Thai restaurant where Juli and Norm Lewis both ordered authentic Pad Thai. Speaking of Norm, he brought his childhood friend, LeRoy, with him. They met when Norm was three and LeRoy was two. Norm remembers LeRoy running down the street in a diaper pulling a red wagon, and they've been friends ever since! As a matter of fact, during Norm's show, he sang a solo version of "I Will Never Leave You" and dedicated it to LeRoy!

Seth, James and Juli at Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Seth, James and Juli at Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Anyhoo, while we were all waiting on the street in Bangkok for the bus to take us to the restaurant, Lindsay Mendez and Jen Cody ran up to me and acted out what had just happened to LeRoy: He was standing against a wall and letting throngs of people walk by. An older man started walking by, holding onto the wall as he made his way along the sidewalk. Was he blind? We don't know. Did he have difficulty walking? Possibly. When he got to LeRoy, who was against the wall, the man put his hand on LeRoy's shoulder presumably to balance himself. Then, he put his hand squarely on LeRoy's crotch. And kept it there. For a full ten seconds. To balance himself? We don't know. Was it simply resting there, innocuously? Well, Lindsay claims it was no accident, and he was squeezing the merchandise. Why? Because she distinctly saw "finger tension." I’m shocked her eyes are that good and that she invented and coined the phrase "finger tension." Regardless, Norm Lewis brought his friend on this trip to see the world…and be felt up.

Rachel York and Kerry Butler arrived in Bangkok and joined the cruise. Kerry did her show first and she was so fantastic. She sang "Fly Fly Away" from Catch Me If You Can and sounded perfect, as usual. It's interesting how a song that gets a great reaction can get an even bigger one depending on the set up. When she did the show on Broadway, her character was very confident and together — a young southern deb with a kind heart. The song always went over extremely well because it's so well-written and she sounds amazing. However, when the show was out of town in Seattle, her character was more like the movie version—very shy and very quiet. So when Kerry finally found her voice and sang this song, the audience went nuts! Here's the song so you can hear why I love it so much:

The next night was Rachel York's show. She sang up a storm throughout, and ri-i-i-i-i-i-ght at the end — when she should have been vocally exhausted — she interpolated a high F (!) into "Maybe This Time." With vibrato! I could not believe it! Her voice is so crazily flexible. Here she is doing "I Will Always Love You" as a few different singers. Throughout it all, you can hear how amazing her real voice is!

And the most delicious part is: Both Kerry and Rachel are starring in Disaster! on Broadway! AH! The singing is going to be cra-za-zy.

Back to Bangkok. Right after lunch, Hunter Foster and his wife, Jen Cody, decided to go off on their own. The rest of us decided to go to shopping and get real Thai souvenirs for gifts. Thus followed us being stuck in traffic. For almost three hours. Seriously. When we finally got to the shopping area, we couldn't get to the actual legit Thai stuff and were instead dropped at the mall where they had such exotic fare as Sephora and Mac. We then had to rush back to the boat. Hunter and Jen, however, had a different experience. We had no idea until that day, but we now know that they are master travelers. After our three-hour ordeal on the bus, I sent a text to Hunter to see how he and Jen were enduring the traffic jam. Turns out, because Hunter is a map-reading expert and Jen can figure her way out of any situation, Hunter replied that they were not stuck in traffic. Not at all. As a matter of fact, he wrote that they were having a delish dinner after having visited The Grand Palace, The Gold Buddah and touring Chinatown! It's shocking what they can accomplish.

In Bangkok with Christine Ebersole
In Bangkok with Christine Ebersole

We went to a different part of Thailand the next day and Liz Callaway and Lindsay said that while we were in our taxi, Hunter and Jen probably had lunch and then took some time to vote in the local election. We are now clamoring for them to be on "The Amazing Race." I pitched it to Jen and she told me she wants to do it but with someone else because (she pointed to Hunter), "He is dead weight. He'll slow me down." She said the entire footage would be her turning around and yelling "Hurry!!!!" She claims that he always has to stop to pee and, not surprisingly, on the last day of the cruise, they were the last ones on the bus. Why? Hunter had to pee. I still say they could win because as Judy Gold tells her kids on long car drives, "If that astronaut [Lisa Nowak] could wear a diaper while she drove across the country to kill those people, then so can you."

OK! I have many more cruise stories, but will continue next week! Until then, watch this fun video of my deconstructions, including some of the Osmonds singing Fiddler on the Roof with the Yiddish/jazzcat lyrics of “Yiddle deedle diddle dig dig dig-a dig-a deedle dum."

After you watch, get tix to come see me in Los Angeles on Monday Nov. 23rd at Largo! Largo-LA.com Peace out!

(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.)

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