I am writing this end of the year wrap-up/looking-forward-to-the-new-year column in Provincetown at the lovely Anchor Inn Beach House with my fireplace a-burnin'. Ahhhh. So…here's all the fun stuff that's coming up this year. First off, I am bringing back Seth's Broadway Chatterbox! I stopped it when I was doing [title of show] at the George Street Playhouse because I had to leave NYC at 6 PM to make the curtain. After the show closed, I decided to take a little breather from the Chatterbox because I'd been doing it for 11 years and was slightly exhausted. Well, my "little breather" had the essence of the father "going out for a pack of cigarettes" and then completely skipping town because I took a year off from the show. But now, it's finally back. If you don't know, Seth's Broadway Chatterbox is a weekly live talk show (with delicious performances) at Don't Tell Mama in midtown.The $10 admission fee goes to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Proceeds from sales of DVDs of the show go to BC/EFA, too. There are so many DVDs to choose from at www.SethsBroadwayChatterbox.com, and here's a highlight of one of them: Raul Esparza singing an impromptu version of "Defying Gravity." My first show will feature the cast of Lysistrata Jones (along with the book writer Douglas Carter Beane) Make reservations by calling (212) 757-0788.
The week began with my adorable nieces visiting NYC with my sis and her husband. Eliana (the younger one) and I went to see Anything Goes and loved it. After the title song, Eliana was so completely breathless that she literally wanted her inhaler. I don't know if she was over-excited from the amazing Broadway dancing or if she inherited the patented Rudetsky co-dependence — connecting too deeply, emotionally, with the out-of-breath dancers that she herself couldn't breathe. Either way, I'm passing along the number of my therapist. After the show, we went backstage and chatted with Sutton Foster about the TV pilot she recently filmed. It's called "Bunheads" and she plays a Las Vegas dancer who hits bottom when she tries out for the Vegas production of Chicago and doesn't get it. She goes on a bender, marries a random guy, moves to his small town and finds herself teaching at the local dance studio. I asked her if she had to audition and it was sort of yes/no. In other words, she had to fly out to L.A. for an audition but she was the only one being considered for the role. Brava! She knew she had to take the pilot because it was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who created TV's "Gilmore Girls," which was Sutton's favorite TV show. Sutton took a picture with me and Eliana after the show completely sans make-up, or, as she told us, "keeping it real."
Linda talked about the ups and downs of the business and how arbitrary it is. The TV show "Alice" was based on the film "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (a struggling singer working as a waitress while she raises her son), but the script was not being turned into a TV show because they couldn't find anyone to star in it. Alan Shayne, who was a casting director, and then became head of Warner Bros. TV greenlighted the script and told them to hire Linda Lavin. Everyone told him that the show wasn't funny, and he said Linda would make it funny. She got the gig and her whole life changed. That story is one of those "there's stuff going on you don't even know about" stories because when Alan was a casting director, he had apparently seen her work throughout the years but had never called her in for anything. Yet he wound up calling her in for the biggest gig of her life! Linda said that throughout the series, and to this day, women come up to her and tell her that they struggled with issues similar to Alice and would find strength from watching the show. Essentially they would say, "If Alice can do it, so can I." The show was also tackled social issues from the get-go. On the second episode, a football playing buddy of Mel (the diner's owner) goes out on a date with Alice. He doesn't want to kiss her and finally tells her that he's gay. She then has to deal with her own homophobia issues because she's uncomfortable letting her son go on a fishing trip with him. This was in 1976! Brava!
|photo by Martha Swope|
This weekend I did Ana Gasteyer's fantastic show in Provincetown. Ana is on the TV show "Suburgatory," but she's still a Broadway baby. In her show, she sings such fun songs and they're all in such crazily high keys. Literally belting F's. However, besides the belting, my other fave part is her reading of Barbra Streisand's "My Passion for Design." Ana reads it while making seemingly supportive comments that are hilarious. She talks about how the book is inspiring for everyone, no matter what the amount of free time you have or what your income level is. For instance, Ana says, showing a picture from the book, if you need a little pick me up, why not do what Barbra did and build an entire millhouse? She then talks about the underground mall Barbra built beneath her house and the "store" completely filled with dolls. She adds, "And I, for one, cannot think of anything more appropriate in a vast, childless house than an entire basement filled with dolls."
I did an end-of-the-year wrap-up video of my favorite moments from my Playbill "Obsessed!" series. Check out Carolee Carmello, John Tartaglia, Brian d'Arcy James, Andrea Burns, Sierra Boggess and Marc Kudisch with a little high belting from Juli as well!
And on that note, Happy New Year! And I hope you keep your New Year's resolutions slightly longer than my friend Adam Pascal, who's starring in Memphis and always amuses me with his Facebok postings. At the beginning of the day, his Facebook status was: My new years resolution (it will be hard) no more negativity on Facebook. Its ugly...mouth shut! mouth shut!. That was followed a few hours later by: Well I'm off to a bad start. Hey morons, a play is not a movie. When you talk to us while were working, we can hear you. It's horribly distracting. Shut the f**k up you stupid uncultured fool!. Yay! Now I can feel better about breaking any of my resolutions. 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.)