What to Know When Purchasing a Birthday Gift for Seth Rudetsky

Seth Rudetsky   What to Know When Purchasing a Birthday Gift for Seth Rudetsky
This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, what to expect at Chicago’s Concert for America—plus inside Seth’s birthday bash!
Concert_for_America_2017_Andrea Martin and Seth Rudetsky perform in Concert for America, photo by Jenny Anderson_HR.jpg
Andrea Martin and Seth Rudetsky Jenny Anderson

This week was my birthday and I spent it flying across country, which was actually great. I left super early on Tuesday (February 28) to get to Vegas because I had a fun gig where I announced the upcoming Broadway season at the Smith Center. I couldn’t get a good flight home from Vegas (my option was a middle seat on a red eye) so right after my gig I hightailed it to the airport and took a flight to Los Angeles. I got to bed around 11:30 PM L.A. time and then woke up at 4:30 AM for an early morning flight back to NYC because I did a Seth Speaks at SiriusXM that afternoon.

If I didn’t already feel old having a birthday, flying back and forth across the country in 24 hours did it for me. Thanks, NYC to LSV to LAX to NYC!

John O'Hurley Monica Simoes

I just read that John O’Hurley is debuting at the Carlyle Hotel and I remembered having him on Seth Speaks a few months ago. He told me a crazy story that shows what a dedicated actor he’s been ever since he was in college: When he was a senior, he was cast as the Boy in The Fantasticks. It was one of those theatres where you could hear what was happening outdoors because the walls weren’t very thick. Well, in the middle of one of his scenes, he heard a car being started in the parking lot. He recognized the sound because it was his car! “Wait,” I asked, “couldn’t it have been any car?” He claims that one knows the sound of their car starting and he definitely knew his because it was a “965 GTO convertible with a 396-horsepower, four-barrel carburetor, double-overhead cam.”

I don’t really drive so it sounds like he had what I call a “car.”

Anyhoo, why was it being started if he was not in it? Because, he realized it was being stolen! He wanted to run out and try to stop the thief, but instead he decided to honor that old chestnut “The show must go on.” He kept doing his scene while his car was driven out of the parking lot. The good news is they found his car. However, it was miles away, at the top of a ski slope and missing all its tires. But they did leave the engine. Yay?

So, we are two weeks away from the next Concert For America which is going to be at the Auditorium in Chicago on Monday, March 20. We just added Alice Ripley and Ana Gasteyer! And I mentioned last week that Chita Rivera and Melissa Manchester are doing it. Well, I just had Melissa on Seth Speaks and, man, she is so crazily talented. So many fantastic hit songs. And, I had no idea, but she co-wrote one of my favorites with Kenny Loggins: “Whenever I Call You Friend.” I love that song. She mentioned how there are non-stop chord changes in it and whenever anyone wanted to hear a snippet of it, she would tell them she had to start from the beginning or she couldn’t figure out the chords! I then asked why she’s not on the recording with Kenny Loggins and she told me that her record company didn’t think it would be a hit. NOT cool! So, the other soloist wound up being Stevie Nicks. Here’s a version with Kenny Loggins (sounding amazing), but he’s singing it with a man with long permed hair and full beard. Someone commented “Wow! I never saw Stevie Nicks without her makeup. Not a good look!” Hilarious!

I asked Melissa what hit surprised her and she said it was “You Should Hear How She Talks About Ya.” She never thought it would win the Grammy, but it did! I then informed her that I always think of her as the Agatha Christie of songwriters. There’s always a vague mystery and then a shocking reveal halfway through her songs.

In “You Should Hear How She Talks About Ya,” she’s telling a guy about a girl who is in love him. Halfway through, she says (whispers? raps?) “Can’t ya see? It’s me!” The lyrics are basically, “The calls are coming from inside the house.” And in the middle of “Don’t Cry Out Loud” she sings “…she had the finest teacher. That was me!” And immediately you’re thinking “WAIT! You know ‘Baby’!?! Mind. Blown.”

I’m not sure what song Melissa is going to do in Chicago on March 20, but I’m hoping for the one I played for my sister throughout the entire late ’70s “Through The Eyes of Love.”

My sister Nancy: birthday brunch goer AND singer of "Theme From Ice Castles" in our living room circa 1979.
My sister Nancy: birthday brunch goer AND singer of "Theme From Ice Castles" in our living room circa 1979. Courtesy of Seth Rudetsky

In this video, she’s playing piano (P.S. She’s a great pianist. She played on my show). But I love how right after the first verse, she moves away from the piano even though there’s so much more piano in the song. Watch:

Even though Melissa really plays, it totally reminds me of Andrea Martin on SCTV singing a medley from Porgy and Bess and thinking she’s masking the fact that she’s not actually playing. So hilarious when it goes from solo piano to an entire orchestra:

Speaking of Andrea Martin, she appeared in our last Concert for America, making a hilarious, but moving, speech about her roots in Armenia and then we recreated the sketch I watched over and over in the 1980s: “English For Beginners” with Prini Scleroso. Watch—and, P.S. feel free to donate from the link on the video:

You can buy tickets for the March 20 concert in Chicago at ConcertsForAmerica.com. After that, the next concert in the series is April 18 in New York City.

In other news, I had a birthday brunch on Sunday and had such a great time.

We have a spiral staircase that goes downstairs. Caroline Rhea said that in order to go down comfortably you have to be “at your Weight Watchers goal weight. YES! It’s so body shaming!

Marc Shaiman, His husband Lou Marabel, bass player Marc Schmeid and Caroline Rhea hanging out....in my bathroom?
Marc Shaiman, His husband Lou Marabel, bass player Marc Schmeid and Caroline Rhea hanging out....in my bathroom? Courtesy of Seth Rudetsky

Janet Metz got me two very specific treats: rugelach and gefilte fish. Why? Because she originated the role of Cordelia, the kosher caterer in Falsettoland (which I’m obsessed with) and that’s what she sings about when they’re first visiting Whizzer in his hospital room! Listen:

I put them down on the table so I could get my iPhone and take a photo of my presents. Two minutes later when I went back to pose with it…the gefilte fish was open! We were in shock! Who the H wants bottled gefilte fish at a brunch? Well, my friend proudly fessed up that he was super excited because gefilte fish is really expensive….like ‘contact lens solution.” It is? Anyhoo, we took the photo and I immediately gave it to him to take home.

Seth Rudetsky column 3.6.17

P.S. This person was under the age of 80. Brava?

Peace out and visit SethRudetsky.com/appearances to see all the cities I’m coming to in the next few months: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Las Vegas Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, London plus appearances at 54 Below in New York City with peeps like Audra McDonald, Will Swenson, Kevin Chamberlin, Roger Bart, Kerry Butler and Chita! Peace out!

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