Well, we just had the winter solstice, and New York Senator Brad Hoylman tweeted that, from now on, the days will be brighter. I love it!
I wanna begin this column by showing this important video clip from Stars in the House. I saw a Facebook post from someone who basically said the vaccine can’t be safe because it was developed so quickly. Incorrect! It was not developed quickly. It’s been in development for 20 years! Please watch Stars in the House chief medical correspondent (also CBS’) Dr. Jon LaPook talk about the fact that this is a version of the vaccine developed years ago for SARS.
And, please share this video. Everyone (who can) needs to be vaccinated so we can go back to normal…a.k.a. non-stop Broadway!
Speaking of Broadway, I had Adam Pascal on my Seth Concert Series last week. Holy cow—almost every song he sang had a high B. His voice is so incredibly solid! On a side note, when we did songs he had sung in Cabaret, Memphis, Something Rotten, etc., he told me that he actually prefers replacing to originating! Most people I know want to originate roles to put their own stamps on them. He said there’s too much stress when you originate: Will the show be a hit? Will it run? Will he get good reviews? He remembers how he was the “golden boy” when he was doing Rent, and then when he got Aida, there was enormous pressure to get another Tony nomination. He didn’t. It added so much stress to his life! Whereas, when he’s replaced in a musical, he knows that the show’s already a hit and how long his contract is for. All he has to worry about is his performance. Perhaps the stress of doing Aida led to carb-loading; he talked about how he wore an open vest in that show and over three years, he gained more and more weight. One day, he was getting ready and his makeup guy said, “What’s this?” and cupped Adam’s newly grown man boobs! Maybe Radames is Egyptian for “moobs”??
During the concert, I had Adam sing something from a role I want him to play in the next revival…Jean Valjean’s prologue from Les Mis! Watch!
Next Sunday, I have another Disaster! alum joining me: Kerry Butler, who was starring in Beetlejuice when Broadway shut down. And then, speaking of Beetlejuice, I have a concert with the man in the title role on January 3, 2021: Alex Brightman! And, for the rest of December, you can get 15 of my concerts for $15 each! I’m talking Audra McDonald, Jessie Mueller, Keala Settle, Norm Lewis, etc.! Get thee to TheSethConcertSeries.com.
Speaking of Norm Lewis, he was on Stars in the House last Friday because we did a special fundraiser for Greater Orlando Performing Arts Relief, which is helping the artists in Orlando, Florida (his hometown). Michael Wanzie is the artistic mayor of that town and contacted us to help out. Years ago, he booked two of my shows at Parliament House and treated James, Juli, and me to amazing theme park days! Here is a fun pic from that time: We wound up running into Audra McDonald and her daughter Zoe, who were at the park at the same time as us, and Wanzie introduced me to Jesse LeNoir, whom I had a crush on when he was doing Project Runway….hence my dreamy pose towards him (and my ignoring of his lovely wife, Brittany!).
Orlando is made up of so many artists (and staff) who work at theme parks and dinner theatre, and they’re almost all out of work. We had amazing performers who got their start in Orlando: Norm, Wesley Taylor, Wayne Brady, Justin Matthew Sargent, and Paul Vogt. Norm recollected trying out for Disney theme parks multiple times and getting rejected. However, Paul, Justin, and Wayne all worked the parks for years! Here is Wayne in the Beetlejuice revue. He’s got it going on lip-syncing Diana Ross (at 4 minutes in)!
Also, you may know Paul Vogt from Broadway (Chicago and Hairspray), but I’m obsessed with his years on MADtv. Watch this sketch that I’ve always loved:
We ended the live stream with a fully belted performance by Andrea Canny, who was the first Belle in the Disney Beauty and the Beast revue and has worked in the parks for 20 years. Despite her years of work, she told us she is one of the artists who gets food donations now once a week. It’s very dire down there. Please donate at GOPAR.org… and watch Andrea’s amazing TV theme medley:
Back to Norm Lewis. His very first job in New York was the Candlewood Playhouse production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat back in 1989. It was also my first regional music directing gig right out of college! He had the butler solo in Joseph, and we decided to “sass it up.” Well, the video from way back then was just posted, and I wouldn’t say the sassiness paid off 100 percent, but it’s so fun to watch…if just for his gams!
This is also the production which had a mortifying moment for me!
BACKSTORY: When you conduct a show, usually there is a red light in the pit. Right before you start the show, the stage manager lights it up so everyone is prepped to go. Then, your cue to start the overture (or entr’acte) is when the red light turns off. SO….one day, I was in the pit of Joseph... at Candlewood Playhouse before Act Two began, chatting up a storm with the musicians, especially my drummer (and fellow Oberlin alum) Kerry Meads. I got so distracted chatting that I didn’t see the red light go off! AH! I was late to start Act Two! I quickly started conducting the big, grand entr’acte but soon saw that none of the light cues were happening…nor was the curtain opening. What the-? I could see right underneath the curtain and, for some reason, there was a flurry of legs running around frantically. Uh-oh. It soon dawned on me: The red light had never been ON to go OFF! It was off because it was still intermission. Yes, I had started Act Two in the middle of intermission! I knew I couldn’t go on with the opening song of Act Two because the curtain wasn’t open and no one was ready…so I just faded out with a bizarre 5-1 cadence. Then, for no reason, I started modulating?!?! Still don’t really know what I was thinking. So, basically the audience just heard a giant trumpet fanfare and short piano solo in the middle of intermission…. and then a fade out.
Well, the amazing part is, that was the performance that was filmed!! You can see the horrificness here:
The amazing part is…I kept my job after that (only a three-week run)!
Anyhoo…get thee to StarsInTheHouse.com all through the holidays for celebrity cooking demos, celebrity game nights, and lots of holiday cheer and singing! Peace out!