If you adore Broadway and love to laugh, be sure to catch comedian Seth Rudetsky deliver his “Big Fat Broadway Show” Saturday, January 22 at the Turner Studio Theatre of the Clark State Performing Arts Center in Springfield.
The hilarious, one-of-a-kind Rudetsky, a Sirius/XM Radio host who has music directed numerous Broadway shows such as “42nd Street,” “Les Miserables,” “Mamma Mia!” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” will deconstruct a slew of personal musical theater-related recordings/videos (such as Cher singing all the roles in “West Side Story”!) in a style all his own. In fact, his energetic, funny and knowledgeable musings on Broadway past and present have become a staple in Manhattan in recent years thanks to Seth’s Broadway Chatterbox, his weekly talk show at New York’s Don’t Tell Mama.
In addition, the Emmy and Grammy nominee, born in Jamaica, Queens and raised on Long Island, appeared in the Broadway revival of “The Ritz,” was a member of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” writing team, and wrote “The Q Guide to Broadway.” He also majored in classical piano performance at Oberlin College and will accompany Tony winner Betty Buckley (“Cats”) at the Performing Arts Center the evening prior.
OnStageDayton recently caught up with Rudetsky in advance of his Springfield appearance.
onStageDayton: Have you been amazed by any particular Broadway show recently?
Seth Rudetsky: I am/was obsessed with “In the Heights.” I (saw) it 11 times. Lin-Manuel Miranda brought ‘hip-hop’ to Broadway, which I am certainly not a fan of, but the show – it’s amazing! It’s literally like one of the old fashioned Golden Age musicals, but with a more modern score. It’s so tuneful and full of joy! Can’t wait to see the film version!
OSD: Is there a particular musical you would like to see revived on Broadway?
SR: I think ‘Shenandoah’ would be a great vehicle for Hugh Jackman. Probably my favorite musical of all that has nothad a good revival is ‘The Most Happy Fella,’ which is a brilliant show by Frank Loesser.
OSD: If you could go back in time as musical director of one show what would it be?
SR: Probably ‘Funny Girl’ just to have chance to work with Barbra Streisand and see how she worked. She changed the melody a lot. On the ‘Funny Girl’ cast recording, the melodies are not sung as written. It would be fascinating to know why she decided to change the melody. I once spoke with Marvin Hamlisch, the original rehearsal accompanist for ‘Funny Girl,’ who said (composer) Jule Styne just let Barbra do what she wanted to because she made it better.
OSD: Is there anyone in the New York theater community you particularly feel might be the most underrated?
SR: Kristine Zbnorik, who is playing Roz in the national tour of ‘9 to 5.’ She’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with. And obviously Betty Buckley, who won a Tony Award, but hasn’t been on Broadway since ‘Triumph of Love’ in 1997. Betty is not underrated, but I’d say she’s underused. Where is her Broadway musical? I love Betty and it’s frustrating to me that these big Broadway stars have to wait years and years between Broadway shows. Look at Patti LuPone – she waited 20 years between musicals (in terms of) ‘Anything Goes’ and ‘Sweeney Todd.’ What is going on?
OSD: You recently performed in a New Jersey production of ‘[title of show]’ with Muse Machine alum Tyler Maynard of New Carlisle. How was that experience?
SR: Tyler got me the job. He really pushed for me and that’s why I did it. It was an abstract-driven show, which really didn’t matter to me, but when I realized he was going to be playing opposite me I had to do it. It was a great experience. Tyler’s parents are coming to see my show in Springfield as well.
“What I love about the show is that no matter the audience there is always non-stop laughter.”
OSD: You have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, have been nominated for some of the most coveted awards in showbiz, have your own radio show, written a book, and continue to perform in various venues across the country. Is there anything in particular you hope to accomplish in the future?
SR: I’d love to host the Tony Awards – that indeed would be thrilling. Plus, being nominated for one! I’d also like to star in a play I write myself – like Lin-Manuel Miranda! But I don’t write music so it would have to be an actual play or a musical with a score by someone else. I also have a young adult book coming out on the Random House label. I would like to turn it into a book series and perhaps write a film version!
OSD: What do you hope audiences take away from the experience of seeing “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Show”?
SR: What I love about the show is that no matter the audience there is always non-stop laughter. I’ve literally done my deconstructions in Amish Country and Waco, Texas, so believe me I’ve had all kinds of audiences. Thankfully, it always works. But what I truly enjoy is the fact that people can laugh, but they walk away loving Broadway even more than they have before, even if they never have. And they usually come up to me and say ‘Now I have to go out and buy the CD of ‘Hair’ or ‘The Pajama Game’’ or whatever song I’ve played that they are now obsessed with.
Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Show will be held Saturday, January 22 at 8 p.m. in the Turner Studio Theatre of the Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield. Tickets are $35. Seating is limited. For tickets or more information, call (937) 328-3874 or visit online at www.springfieldartscouncil.org. For additional information about Seth, visit online at www.sethrudetsky.com