The Disaster! Diaries: The Making of a New Broadway Musical (Part 3)

Seth Rudetsky   The Disaster! Diaries: The Making of a New Broadway Musical (Part 3)
Follow Seth Rudetsky's updates direct from tech rehearsal!
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Actor-writer-music supervisor and your am-AH-zing columnist Seth Rudetsky chronicles the making of his Broadway show Disaster! A New Musical. Part 2 begins with tech rehearsals, but check in for regular updates — stories, backstage photos, videos and more — from Seth on the realization of his Broadway dream. 

FEBRUARY 22, 2015
Find out who missed their cue during previews and which one of Seth's idols paid a backstage visit in Seth's regular weekly Onstage & Backstage.

FEBRUARY 15, 2015
Find out how previews are going in Seth's regular weekly Onstage & Backstage.

FEBRUARY 4, 2016

Well, there are many, many people who work on a Broadway show. Costumes are constantly being altered throughout tech, and our wardrobe department is working non-stop. Quite frankly, it builds up an appetite; when they saw James eating ribs they immediately asked where he got 'em. James had just been in Yonkers and gone to Dickie's which he highly recommended, and, since he's from Texas, his recommendations come with street cred.

The entire department gave their orders, James drove up and came back with a delicious delivery. Not delicious for me because I'm a (haughty) vegetarian, but delicious for them! The big event is: the cast photos have gone out in front of the theatre!! We're all taking pictures of ourselves posing next to our giant photos. So cool!

Tonight we run the show with the band. AH!!!

FEBRUARY 3, 2016

Oy. These long days are getting exhausting. We start at 12:30 and go until 11:40 PM for tech rehearsals. I was really tired this morning but I know it's a big, fat luxury problem. It reminds me of when I was single and friends would say, "It's really hard to be married." Really? Shove it! Anyhoo, one of the things getting me through the long days is the JoAnn Hunter stash. What's that, you ask? Well, remember how I said our choreographer eats one (1) nut during rehearsals? Well, that hasn't stopped her from bringing a crazy amount of delicious/mind-bogglingly unhealthy food to the theatre. During tech rehearsals, there are tabletops laid across the theatre seats so the creative team can sit with their computers etc. and take notes. It also gives a wonderful amount of counter space to bags and bags of pure sugar. I'm constantly making a vow I won't have any, but within the third hour of "stand still while we light this this," I downed Dove chocolate, Twizzlers and chocolate-covered pretzels. Delish!

We're adding more and more aspects of the show during tech: costumes, wigs, band starting tomorrow and Not just lucious 70s makeup on the sexy ladies attending New York's first floating casino and discotheque, but also makeup to represent our injuries from the earthquake, tidal wave, etc. Here's a cool sketch of what's being proposed for me for Act Two:

Previews begin Tuesday! Don't forget my discount: SOC1 at Ticketmaster.

FEBRUARY 2, 2016

We're teching while wearing costumes now. It's a process to put mine on...not because I wear a complicated costume, but because I have to wear so many things to prevent injuries. While I was first doing the show when we ran at The Triad, I ran onstage and thought someone kicked me REALLY hard. Turns out, my calf popped! I don't know the medical term, but I couldn't put any weight on it and had to go to physical therapy!! My calves are prone to doing that, so now I'm wearing heel lifts during the show to prevent it.

I also wear calf sleeves to prevent my calves from pulling the same stunt.

Then, because I have to crawl in Act One, I have to wear these knee pads under my pants.

I haven't seen this many layers/undergarments since watching Lady Mary get dressed during "Downton Abbey." 

Today was the Sitzprobe where the cast sang through the whole score with the band. So much fun!

Everyone keeps saying that hearing these 70s songs every night will put us in the best mood, and I agree! Here's a deconstruction of one of my favorite songs from the show:

FEBRUARY 1, 2015

We rehearsed the band for the first time yesterday. Omg! It was so exciting!! All of the songs in the show are from the 70s — disco, pop and rock — so it makes the biggest difference having a band play them. I, of course, started tearing up because it was so thrilling! Here's Joseph Joubert who scored it all.Sitting next to him is Emily Grishman who is the music copyist. She and her team have the headachey job of getting all the music written out for all the instruments. And smiling in the back is David Dabbon, our dance arranger.

Here's the keyboard section with Steve Marzullo, also as conductor, and Larry Pressgrove (from [title of show])

Here's Carl Carter the bass player and Steve Bargonetti, our guitarist.

Carl also played for my Hair concert. Watch my deconstruction of the amazing belting/riffing of "White Boys." 

Ray Marchica is our drummer, and we both worked together for years on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show!"

Here's our hip horn section: Nick Marchione on trumpet and Scott Kreitzer on reeds

The trombonist is Charley Gordon, who I first met in the pit when we both played Grease in 1994. He soon started "contracting" my benefits...that means hiring the musicians. He's done tons of Gypsy of the Year's and Easter Bonnet Competition's, as well as all of my Actors Fund benefits including Dreamgirls and Hair. He's helped me so much throughout the years that I really wanted to get him this gig. Well, I told my producer, and now Charley is making his Broadway debut as a contractor!! He got me such a hot sound band! Watch them rehearse "25 or 6 to 4"! 

JANUARY 31, 2016

Read Seth's Onstage & Backstage column for the Monday scoop!

JANUARY 28, 2016
We had our first lo-o-o-o-o-ng day of tech. Of course, I loved it! We started at 12:30 PM and got out at midnight. At first it was slow going, and Jack and I were nervous we wouldn't get to the section of the show we were supposed to end with, but by 11 PM we were totally on track and ended right where we should! Tech is about really solidifying where people are onstage so the stage picture looks right, as well as getting the lights focused and the sets moving properly.

When you do a B'way show, there are usually numbers on the stage so the actors know where to go. There's a "0" in the middle and then every two feet is another number. So, you'll know you're supposed to enter and go to 4, stage left and during the scene you travel to 6 stage right etc. To make sure Jack and (choreographer) JoAnn know exactly where to place people, the numbers we can see on the stage floor are also placed on the outside of the stage for tech rehearsal so they can both see them.

Also, we officially moved into our dressing rooms! I'm sharing with Max Crumm, which is super fun because he's hilarious. He also has a great eye and is very busy deciding what color we should have it painted.

Today, Max showed me his traveling trophy; when he was in Grease, his character won the trophy for the hand jive contest.  Now, it travels from show to show between his Grease friends. He's going to have to fork it over when Laura Osnes comes back to Broadway in Bandstand. Here's the trophy:

And here's the bottom of it with the names of all the show dressing rooms it's been in.

Ok...I gotta go because tomorrow is our first day in costumes!!! So exciting!!

Click here to read PART TWO of Seth's Disaster! Diary
Click here to read PART ONE of Seth's Disaster! Diary

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