Greetings from Toronto, Canada. And by "Toronto" I mean "Belleville." I tour around with Andrea Martin and we're constantly hitting towns in Canada that are well-known if you're from North of the border, but not if you are only familiar with West 42nd to West 96th street. Belleville, Hunstville, Sudbury…you might as well say Brooklyn. I know nothing of it. Speaking of obscure towns, Andrea and I were lamenting the food choices in non-New York towns. She was taking her son to various colleges in the Midwest ten years ago and had the [AUDIO-LEFT]following conversation:
ANDREA: Can I have an egg white omelet?
ANDREA: An egg white omelet.
WAITER: (Same facial expression)
ANDREA: Do you make omelets with egg whites?
WAITER: (Still staring….ten years later).
So many times I've gone out of town and had this conversation in a Chinese restaurant:
ME: Can I have brown rice?
WAITER: Fried rice?
ME: No, brown rice.
WAITER: You mean fried rice. Ugh! Yes, Mr. Waiter, I want to be healthy by taking bad-for-you white rice and making it even more unhealthy by frying it. It's maddening! Hendrick Riik, who is working with Andrea on the show, told us that he used to live in the U.S. and drove through Alabama. He stopped in a tiny diner and had this conversation:
HENDRICK: Can I have a cup of tea?
WAITRESS: A glass of iced tea?
HENDRICK: No, a cup of tea.
WAITRESS: So, iced tea in a cup?
HENDRICK: No. Hot tea.
WAITRESS: (Mulling). Hot, huh… Well, I guess we could take it outta the fridge, pour it in a cup and then heat it in the microwave.
Hendrick now lives in Canada.
|photo by Robb Johnston|
My friend Colleen Ballinger is doing her character, Miranda, at the Matchbox Theater in Red Deer, Canada, where I did Rhapsody in Seth last October. Matt Grue, who runs the theatre, wrote out the dialogue he heard in the theatre when two women on their way to the Miranda show saw my poster. This is what he sent:
WOMAN 1: Rhapsody in Seth. Did we see that?
WOMAN 2: Sure. It was with that guy from the radio. SAM RABINSKY.
WOMAN 1: Right. Sam Rabinsky.
WOMAN 2: He's married to Patti LuPone.
WOMAN 1: What?
WOMAN 2: I read it in the New York Times.
WOMAN 1: But that whole show was about him growing up gay in New York.
WOMAN 2: That was the character he was playing. "Seth."
WOMAN 1: Oh. Obviously. The title.
WOMAN 2: Right.(Silence.)
WOMAN 1: So what's THIS show about?
WOMAN 2: I think it's about a clown who learns to sing.
WOMAN 1: Sounds interesting.
It, naturally, reminds me of the famous dialogue supposedly heard before a performance of Cats in the 1980s right after Betty Buckley won the Tony Award:
WOMAN 1: I'm very excited to see this show. It stars Betsy Buckles.
WOMAN 2: Ooh! She was wonderful in that TV show…"Enough is Enough."
|photo by Robb Johnston|
FAN 1: Chita Rivera.
FAN 2: Bebe Neuwirth.
FAN 1: Ashlee Simpson.
(Gasp from the audience.)
I informed him that he lost because Ashlee played Roxie, not Velma. I followed that statement by seriously intoning "And we never speak of it." He was a great sport and said that he panicked because he was so excited. And speaking of excited, I'm so obsessed with my latest deconstruction. I think this song is one of the best ever written for musical theatre. It's the original cast of A Chorus Line singing "At the Ballet." Watch!
OK, another week, another city far away from New York. This week I'm doing an auditioning master class and Deconstructing Broadway in Sioux City, Iowa. My show is Thursday Feb. 3 at 7:30 PM in the Klinger-Neal Theater on the Morningside College Campus. A patron is sponsoring the whole thing so the tickets are free! Just call (712) 274-5702. And peace out!
(Seth Rudetsky has played piano in the pits of many Broadway shows including Ragtime, Grease and The Phantom of the Opera. He was the artistic producer/conductor for the first five Actors Fund concerts including Dreamgirls and Hair, which were both recorded. As a performer, he appeared on Broadway in The Ritz and on TV in "All My Children," "Law and Order C.I." and on MTV's "Made" and "Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods." He has written the books "The Q Guide to Broadway" and "Broadway Nights," which was recorded as an audio book on Audible.com. He is currently the afternoon Broadway host on Sirius/XM radio and tours the country doing his comedy show, "Deconstructing Broadway." He can be contacted at his website SethRudetsky.com, where he has posted many video deconstructions.)