Hello from a Ft. Lauderdale to NYC flight. James and I were just on the fantastic Celebrity Epic ship because we’re sailing on it for our next Broadway cruise in January. It was just a two-day “cruise to nowhere” to show us the ship but, even though it was a short trip, we had a great time. And because of relentless eating, I was able to achieve my signature 5 lbs. weight gain that I normally get over a 7-day cruise in just 48 hours. I still got it! And by “it”, I mean zero self-control.
Normally, on my Broadway cruises, I’m not able to see the regular ship entertainment because they’re usually performing at the same time as my shows, but this time we were able to see what the Apex has to offer and we really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, there was so much terrifying gymnastics that I had my hands over my eyes for a significant portion of the shows. I’m too scared of witnessing a slip-and-fall from a front row seat.
Last week, I had Shoshana Bean on The Seth Concert Series and she hauled out amazing song after amazing song! “Cornet Man,” “Moonfall,” “Back To Before,” “Waving Through A Window,” and so much more. Shoshana told me that when Gavin Creel was playing the doctor in Waitress they would chat on the phone often (because, she claims, Doctor Pomatter has a lot of off-stage time). During one performance he suddenly said “Hey, you should play Jenna!” Shoshana said she would love to, but no one had ever asked. Gavin told her he would talk to Sara Bareilles.
Well, a few days later, he told Shoshana that Sara loved her but felt she’d be better for the role of Becky. Shoshana moved on with her life and then, a few weeks after that, her manager started calling her. A lot. Shoshana knew she had a gig coming up and had to sign a contract but didn’t know why her manager felt it was so important as to keep calling. Finally, Shoshana called back and was about to tell her that “yes,” she would sign the contract, when her manager interrupted with the news that she had an offer to star in Waitress. Seriously! It went from “She’s only right for Becky” to “We don’t even need you to audition. We’re offering you Jenna.” Shoshana said a big, fat yes and was starring in the show just a few weeks later. Here we are rehearsing “What Baking Can Do” right before our concert.
I love stories like that: Beth Leavel tried out for The Drowsy Chaperone and felt it didn’t go well. She just couldn’t find the character as it was written. A few days later Casey Nicolaw, who was directing and whom she’d known since they both did Crazy for You on Broadway, called and told her it wasn’t going to happen with her. She totally knew it and thanked him for his call. Weeks and weeks later her agent called and told her she had an offer for a show. She was so excited! What show, she asked? The Drowsy Chaperone he responded. She told him that there was a mistake, and she definitely did not have an offer for that show. He told her it was an offer. She told him it was not and finally he called casting to confirm. Well, she did indeed get the title role—and a Tony award!
Then there’s the opposite. When you’re sure you got the part and fade out. Donna Murphy was at NYU when she auditioned to be a replacement in the Broadway revival of Hair. She just knew she nailed it and waited anxiously for the phone to ring with an offer. Well, she waited for her dorm phone to ring. There was one downstairs and she was certain it would ring and be her ticket to Broadway. Days passed and the call never came. However, she felt justified when she soon found out that the reason the phone didn’t ring wasn’t because she wasn’t cast, it was because, right after she auditioned, the show closed. Yay?
Then there’s the slow build. Krysta Rodriguez knew she was perfect for the role of Wednesday in The Addams Family and was thrilled when she was asked to do a workshop of the show. However, she was not asked to play Wednesday. She took the workshop anyway and basically bided her time. Sure enough, when show finally came around to Broadway, she was playing Wednesday. Sometimes you gotta wait it out for the universe to correct itself. She remembers when composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa played her the song she’d have in Act 1. Immediately, she knew it was going to be the type of song that young women would sing at auditions all over the place, and she was right!
If you don’t know, there’s always a song every few years that people gravitate towards. When I first moved to NYC, all the men were singing “Anthem” and the women were singing “Wherever He Ain’t” or “I Think I May Want To Remember Today.” Years later, there was a slew of “Gimme Gimme” and “Astonishing” audition cuts being hauled out and soon, Krysta was right, lots and lots of “Pulled.”
On SiriusXM, I had a wonderful interview with Reed Birney who is fantastic in the new film Mass. He began his career on Broadway in Gemini and talked about how that classic commercial from the ‘70s (“I’m not hungry. I’ll just pick…”) helped them run for years. He told me that he was “young and cute” back then and felt that he had to get as many jobs as possible while he looked like that because it would all dry up when he got older. Well, he told me that he is now getting more work than ever! He claims it’s because his type changed from “young and cute” to what he called “washed-up WASP.” Hi-lar!
And finally, my show Seth’s Broadway Breakdown is still going strong! Here’s a clip of a Gavin Creel breakdown to give you a sense of what I do. I had so many amazing people come see me last week. Just Friday night alone, my audience had Charlotte d’Amboise, Jim Caruso, Julia Murney, Emily Skinnner, Shoshana Bean, and Will Roland. I made a mini ballet video with Charlotte backstage to get myself warmed up.
To see me in full sass, get tickets at AsylumNYC.com and peace out!