What time did my alarm go off, you ask? Why, 3:50 AM, 'natch. That's right, I'm doing one of my signature early-morning flights. This one leaves at 5:32 from Kansas City and if this column were on Skype right now you would be slathering Maybelline's "Under-Eye Bags Go-Away" to your computer screen. Anyhoo, I flew out here to see the Music Theater for Young People production of Chicago, and to do my show. I know Julie Danielson from NYC (I hired her to play bass on the MTV Legally Blonde reality show) and she told me about the children's theatre training program that her mom runs (Mtyp.org). Well, I came out to see their senior production (all the kids are 18 years old) and it was great! First of all, I want to say this wasn't the new trend of having kids do "junior" versions of shows, with truncated scenes and songs which sometimes makes me feel like I'm watching a day of 16-bar auditions. This was the full-length Chicago. How long did they rehearse, you ask? One week! Not since I did summer stock in the '80s! They began last Sunday and had their first performance on Saturday night. I thought it would be one of those productions where the songs aren't very staged except for a couple of sassy moves at the end of every number. Cut to: it was fully choreographed, and I mean fully. I was watching the back-up dancers for "All I Care About Is Love" and they had moves every other beat. And they were all together! Usually, when I watch a show that's just started performances, I have anxiety from the anxiety of the people onstage who are constantly thinking "I don't know what's next" (aka, the first two weeks of my show Disaster!). Well, the only anxiety I felt was because all the kids have 28-inch waists and I had just bought an enormous package of trail mix that was supposed to last me the entire day, but I had finished all 20 grams of fat by the time I was in baggage claim. Never felt fatter. My point is, these kids were as confident as if they'd been doing the show since the '96 revival began. (P.S., that Tony-winning revival opened two years after these kids were born! Never felt older.)
|photo by Monica Simoes|
I began the week by playing for Colleen Ballinger's alter ego, Miranda. She's the "youtube sensation" who is a horrific singer but thinks she's amazing. And when I say sensation, I mean it. She has hundreds of thousands of views. Her concert was hilarious, and featured Adam Pascal, who, as usual, sounded great. Miranda joined him in a duet of "Light My Candle" from Rent and there were so many amazing moments. Because Miranda "doesn't say bad words" she wound up singing "They say that I have the best tush below 14th Street." The whole concert was filmed and will be shown on my new site SethTV.com. Watch my recent favorite Miranda video.
You can watch it here. My launch for SethTV.com is Monday, June 18th at XL in Manhattan and I'm combining it with a fundraiser for the Chesapeake Bay Academy, which is a school for kids with learning issues. I'm still adding performers for the benefit, which is called Not Since High School and features Broadway folk recreating roles they did when they were kids. I asked Andrea Martin to recreate her role from South Pacific (which she played when she was a teen) and she emailed back right away with, "Count me in." Yay! Then I emailed Joe Mantello and asked him to do the number he sang in his high school production of Godspell. His email response was slightly different than Andrea's. After addressing me in the email as "Oprah" (based on the fact that I'm starting my own network), his answer was summed up in three "sentences": "Are. You. High?" Brava on his directness! He did say that even if I were able to talk him into it, he's in rehearsal at that time, so he couldn't do it. We shall see about next year. Get tix here.
Anyhoo, the sequel to "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan" was due June 1, and suffice it to say I've only written half of it. But my Random House editor told me he won't be able to read it for another two weeks anyway, so I have 'til June 14. So, now I'm going to dive right in. Right after I procrastinate on youtube for the bulk of two weeks. Peace out!
(Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon Broadway host on SiriusXM. He has played piano for over 15 Broadway shows, was Grammy-nominated for his concert CD of Hair and Emmy-nominated for being a comedy writer on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." He has written two novels, "Broadway Nights" and "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan," which are also available at Audible.com. He recently launched SethTV.com, where you can contact him and view all of his videos and his sassy new reality show.)