Happy New Year! We had a really fun holiday week on Stars in the House, where we had a game night every night. And we upped it on New Year’s Eve because we have viewers all over the world, and James thought it would be nice to ring in the new year in different time zones since many people would be spending New Year’s Eve at home. So, on December 31 we did a Stars in the House game night beginning at 6 PM to celebrate 2021 in the U.K., then we did one starting at 10 PM to celebrate 2021 on the East Coast, then we started again right before 1 AM so we could celebrate Central, Mountain, and Pacific midnight! Yes, we played until 3 AM. We knew we’d be tired, but James reminded me this would (hopefully) be the only time we’d have a New Year’s Eve in a pandemic.
We wound up having so much fun, and the donations were amazing! Instead of there being a prize for the winners, we let the winning team pick someone from the losing team to tell a mortifying or embarrassing story from their past. My favorite was from Marc Shaiman: Marc revealed that his agent told him that he had an offer to be on To Tell The Truth. If you don’t know, that’s the show where there are three people and one of them has done something interesting. There are four celebrities who have to guess who the person is who did the interesting thing. The difficult part is: three different people claim to have done the interesting thing and none of them are recognizable. The celebrities quiz them, trying to figure out which one is telling the truth. Well, Marc was all set to be a celebrity guesser. How exciting! Unfortunately, they were asking him to be the unrecognizable person. Well! Marc admits he’s not exactly a household name (or face!), but surely at least one person from a panel of celebrities would have worked with, or at least seen him, during his years of work in Hollywood and Broadway. Marc decided to put his bruised ego aside and peruse the list of jobs the other contestants have done. When he saw “Oprah’s podiatrist” he gave a polite “no thank you” and, according to him, nursed his wounded pride “with a very large bag of Chips Ahoy.”
James and I are going to start doing game nights at least once a week from now on. This week, we also have some reunions: On Thursday, it’s cast members from The Waltons, and on Saturday we are having a collection of women who have played Effie in Dreamgirls, including Lillias White, Kecia Lewis-Evans, and Roz Ryan! Tonight, we’re going to have Donna McKechnie on to talk about the making of her A Chorus Line big number, “The Music and The Mirror.” We’re then going to have Nikki Feirt Atkins from American Dance Machine as well as Douglas Denoff, who put together this amazing montage of dancers (many who will be appearing) performing the number.
Watch this week (and all past shows) at StarsintheHouse.com!
Last Sunday, I had my weekly live (yes, totally live! I am playing live while they sing!) concert with Alex Brightman. Alex has starred in two recent shows, but his Broadway debut was as an understudy in the musical Glory Days. Alex told me that they had a day off right after opening night. Well, the producers called the cast to the theatre on their day off, and Alex was new enough to the business to think that a full cast meeting was a good thing. Not surprisingly, the full cast meeting was to tell them that their run was over! Right after opening night! It was shocking to everyone at that meeting…except Andrew Call. He arrived at the theatre, and as he walked in, someone in the box office tapped on the window and mouthed, “Sorry your show closed.” Yay? Alex thinks it was a good experience for his first Broadway show because he saw what the business can be like…the ups and downs. I actually had the cast of Glory Days at my talk show Seth’s Broadway Chatterbox years ago the day after they closed and found this photo. Alex is the short one…and I am the extremely short one.
I asked him about doing the fake documentary Co-Op, which was a parody of the Company recording session. He said he got an email detailing who was involved with the show (John Mulaney, Seth Meyers) and he was so excited to audition…and then the bottom of the email said it was an offer! He had to read the whole thing again to believe it. We performed his song live (and I played the Renée Elise Goldsberry part). Here is the song from the episode:
His first long-running role on Broadway was playing Boq in Wicked, which he loved. However, there was one performance he didn’t love: I made him tell his most mortifying moment onstage, and it began when he was relaxing backstage, out of his costume. He thought he was done with Act 1…but, turns out, he had one more scene! He heard a line that was about 30 seconds before his entrance, so he panicked, grabbed what he could from his dressing room, and threw stuff on. He wound up coming onstage without pants…but wearing tights…and sporting an open tunic…which clearly showed his mic pac. Adding to the horror, it was the only fully dramatic scene Boq has, so it was doubly devastating. At the end of the scene, Glinda is mean to Boq, and he’s so emotional that he flees. That meant he had to run across the entire stage, in front of tons of cast members, wearing that outfit…tunic flapping, mic pack in full view. Suffice it to say, he was devastated! He literally thought he was going to be fired, but (a) you need to be written up three times to be fired and (b) the stage manager knew it was a just a mistake and immediately forgave him.
I wondered: Which is worse? Going onstage in the wrong costume or going onstage at the wrong time?
During Sister Act, there’s a big chase scene near the end with the nuns and the criminals. Normally, there’s a triumphant scene where the criminals are caught and they are flanked by Deloris and the Mother Superior. Well, during previews, Jennifer Simard, who played a nun (who later went on to get a Tony nomination for playing another nun in Disaster!), was backstage waiting for the moment when all the nuns run onstage at the very end of the show. She miscalculated and came on early. So, the tableau was the criminals, the two leading ladies…and a random nun. Jennifer knew it would be worse if she left (“Why did that nun run on triumphantly…and then sneak off?"), so she just acted like she was supposed to be there. The entire time she was terrified director Jerry Zaks was having a breakdown and writing her pink slip in the audience. The amazing news is her horrific entrance coincided with the one time he was taking a bathroom break during Act 2. Saved by a bladder!
Back to Wicked: Alex and I performed “As Long As You're Mine” with him as Fiyero and me as Elphaba, and we also switched it up by him singing Lydia's song “Dead Mom” from Beetlejuice. And, adding to roles he hasn’t played, Alex also made it known he’d love to play Hamilton's King George one day. And he provided his audition for all the powers-that-be. Watch!
If you want to see it all, it’s streaming for two weeks! Get thee to TheSethConcertSeries.com. You can also get tickets there for my upcoming concerts with Wayne Brady, Kelli O’Hara, and Stephanie J. Block and Sebastian Arcelus.
If you haven’t seen Wayne Brady in action, here is his gorgeous voice on The View.
And, here is his hilariousness and singing combined on Whose Line Is it Anyway? So good!