What Exactly Did Keala Settle Think She Was Reading for at Her Hands on a Hardbody Audition...? | Playbill

Seth Rudetsky What Exactly Did Keala Settle Think She Was Reading for at Her Hands on a Hardbody Audition...? This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Seth shares stories from his recent concerts with Settle and Beth Leavel, his tragic Tonys red carpet mishap, and more.
Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley
Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley c/o Rudetsky

I’m back in New York after spending last week in Provincetown at the lovely Anchor Inn (see above!). James and I went to celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary and there was similarity to our honeymoon. Why? Well, back in 2012, we wanted to honeymoon in a place we had never been as well as only a quick plane flight away. We chose Portland, Maine, which is beautiful…but we didn’t realize we were going to the place that Christine Ebersole’s song in Grey Gardens Another Winter In A Summer Town” is about.

Yes, we spent our honeymoon searching for the “bestest brunch” or the “most romantic restaurant with a view,” and after we’d drive there, we’d see complete darkness inside said venue and a sign that said “Closed For The Season.” It actually wound up being hilarious and we started taking photos of all our disappointments. As for Provincetown, I wouldn’t say that was the case everywhere…we were able to get in some fabulous shopping and eating, but it definitely was post-season. For instance, when I had had a hankering for a giant piece of fudge, I hightailed it to The Fudge Factory as I always do. All summer long it’s open until midnight, so I strolled there leisurely since it was only 6 PM. Well, turns out, post-season, it closes at 5 PM. I’m not saying I was devastated, but suffice it to say I could have immediately performed the final scene of Night, Mother with no prep work.

Anyhoo, my Sunday night concert series is going great, and my recent concert with Beth Leavel is available for another week. That show was basically an evening of 11 o’clock numbers. Beth just moved to a new apartment building and, after each aggressively belted final note, we were terrified of her new neighbors shutting the whole thing down. Luckily, her lease is still intact. Beth lives with her fiancé, Adam Heller, and, during tech rehearsal, I asked him if he’d do a duet with her. He agreed to learn this song and look how cute it came out!

Watch the whole thing at TheSethConcertSeries.com.

Last Sunday was my concert with Keala Settle who sounded like a pop star, hauling out Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans, but also serving up Broadway songs from Company, Hairspray, Hands On a Hardbody and Les Misérables. Keala grew up in Hawaii, and her first big musical theatre role was her college production of Into The Woods. She basically only auditioned because she overheard the director tell a classmate that he would go through the protocol of auditioning women for the role of the Witch, but he already decided he was going to cast her. Keala thought it was so unfair that he decided in advance who to cast, that she memorized the entire show (she had never heard it before) so she’d give such a great audition that he’d have to cast her. It worked!

And, speaking of Sondheim, Keala loved the recent revival of Company and performed “Bobbi”’s big number in our concert. Watch!

She talked about her first big audition, which was for the Hairspray national tour. Because she has such a pop sound, she thought she could be cast as one of the “Dynamites”…not realizing that all three women have to be Black! She was in Vegas but drove with three of her friends to California to audition. After singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” a cappella, they asked her to read for Tracy. She never thought of herself for that role…but, after eight callbacks wound up being cast as the standby (and then taking over the role)! I surprised her last night and asked her to perform “Good Morning Baltimore” which she did perfectly! She’s #StillGotIt!

Keala told me she made her Broadway debut in Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert and during tech rehearsal, her manager got her an audition for Hands On a Hardbody. She loved the documentary and really wanted to do the stage version. She showed up and read for one of the roles. On her way out the door, they asked her to sing. She was in shock. Why? Because she thought it was a play version of the documentary. She had no idea there would be music! She didn’t have any songs with her, so she sang (a cappella again) “This Little Light Of Mine.” Cut to: Tony nomination. She sang a different song from the musical for our concert, which was beautiful! But here is the song that was written for her on Broadway.

The concert is still available (and this coming Sunday is the fabulous LaChanze)! Get thee to TheSethConcertSeries.com.

In other news, Juli told us that there is a trend on TikTok where parents write horrific things about their children and asked us to write one. Well, I guess this is the definition of going viral because our post soon got more than five million views! And The Daily Mail did a piece on the trend and we were cited! Look!!!

And finally, congrats to all the Tony nominees! I’ve only been to the actual Tony Awards a few times, and one was hilariously devastating. SiriusXM had a contest where two winners would get to walk the red carpet with me and then see the Tony Awards. Well, I went to meet them and was waiting for them to ask me to say “amahzing” or one of my other signature sayings. Well, they weren’t interested in that…or particularly in talking to me. I assumed they were superfans who were really shy and warmly walked the red carpet with them without them talking much. Then, right before they entered Radio City Musical Hall, they asked if I would take a photo. Finally, I thought, now their true fandom will come out. I smiled as they handed me their camera…and soon wondered why they weren’t standing next to me. Wait a minute… I then realized when they asked me to take a photo, they weren’t asking me to be in the photo with them, they wanted me to be the camera operator and take a photo of the both of them. To top it off, they then entered Radio City Music Hall to watch the Tony Awards from fabulous seats…and I got on the subway to watch from the couch in my apartment.


Peace out!

Popular Features This Week

Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting playbill.com with your ad blocker.
Thank you!