Audra McDonald (Photo: Autumn de Wilde via The Broadway Blog.)
Audra McDonald heads west! The record-breaking, six-time Tony Award-winner makes her anticipated debut, as part of the acclaimed Broadway @ series, at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, a one-night-only event featuring two intimate concerts at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 11. Produced by Mark Cortale, the Broadway legend will be joined on stage by Broadway @ series host and pianist Seth Rudetsky, who recently starred in the London premiere of his Broadway musical Disaster!
“Audra is a true Broadway legend, and we are thrilled to welcome her, along with Seth, to The Wallis in May,” said The Wallis’ Artistic Director Paul Crewes. “Our audiences are in for an unforgettable evening seeing these renowned performers in our beautiful and intimate Bram Goldsmith Theater.”
Seth Rudetsky (Photo provided by The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.)
The evening features a seamless mix of intimate behind-the-scenes stories from one of Broadway’s biggest stars—prompted by Rudetsky’s probing, funny, revealing questions—and McDonald singing some of the biggest hits from her musical theater repertoire. This spontaneous evening of hilarity and show-stopping songs is not to be missed.
Since opening its doors in October 2013, The Wallis has produced or presented more than 100 dance, theater, opera, classical music and family programs to an ever-expanding audience. Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, California, The Wallis brings audiences world-class theater, dance and music, performed by many of the world’s most talented and sought-after artists.
Dress Circle Publishing will celebrate SETH’S BROADWAY DIARY, VOLUME 2: The Inside Scoop on (almost) Every Broadway Show & Star, the second in a series by Sirius XM radio host SethRudetsky with a special event on Wednesday, October 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Don’t Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street). In addition to Seth, the event will feature Stephanie J. Block, Andrea Burns, Ana Gasteyer, Mandy Gonzales and Jackie Hoffman, who will perform excerpts and some of Seth’s favorite songs. Tickets are $40, which include a copy of the book, and can be purchased at www.dresscirclepublishing.com.
The book is a compilation of Seth’s hilarious Broadway-centric “Onstage and Backstage” columns for Playbill.com chronicling his unique life on and around the Great White Way. Featuring blow-by-blow accounts of amazing experiences like doing Kathy Griffin’s reality show opposite Kristin Chenoweth and Cloris Leachman (what?), going to Disneyland with Audra McDonald(so fun!) and helping Sutton Foster star in two two completely different Broadway shows (on the same night)! This volume features non-stop behind-the-scenes stories straight from the mouths of stars like Lea Salonga, Megan Hilty, Gavin Creel, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda and more.
“Seth’s hysterically funny diary lets the reader be a fly on the wall for offstage encounters with the biggest names on Broadway,” says publisher Brisa Trinchero. “It’s riveting to know what these theater luminaries are like in real life and to hear the shocking, sweet, and often unexpected things going on behind the scenes at your favorite Broadway shows.”
According to Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, “If SethRudetsky didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him. He is the friend who points out everything glorious and silly about your favorite shows. He leaves you laughing helplessly and in awe of his gifts and time management skills. Read this book and see how much Seth gets done in a day. It will make you reach for more.”
Seth Rudetsky is a 21st century renaissance man—renowned radio host, actor, comedian, librettist, music director, pianist, conductor, producer and author. Nationally known as the host of “Seth Speaks” and “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” on Sirius XM radio Seth has worked as the music director, pianist or conductor for some of Broadway’s biggest stars: Patti LuPone, Betty Buckley, Andrea Martin, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Megan Mullally, Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris, Matthew Broderick and Christine Ebersole, Hilty to name a few. In addition he’s spent years as a pianist on Broadway playing such shows as Les Miserables, The Producers, Phantom of The Opera, Grease and Ragtime. All of this experience on the Great White Way has led him to publish several books on the topic including The Q Guide to Broadway and Broadway Nights.
Judy Kuhn (photo provided by GreenHouse Publicity)
While the tri-state area braces for a weekend full of chill and rain, the New Jersey Performing Arts center (NJPAC) forecast includes shining stars in rays of spotlight as it hosts their annual gala for the Women’s Association of NJPAC this Saturday, October 3 at 7 p.m..
This year’s event, under the musical direction of Sirius XM Broadway host Seth Rudestsky, will celebrate the songs of one of Broadway’s most well known composers, Stephen Sondheim.
Tony Award winners and nominees including James Monore Iglehart (Aladdin), Vanessa Williams (Into the Woods), Tony Yazbeck (On the Town), and special guest Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd) will present an evening of Sondheim songs. The program will also include a brief awards ceremony. Judy Kuhn, currently starring in the award winning hitFun Home, will also join the starry lineup. The Broadway Blog caught up with her to discuss the event:
BB: How did you become involved in the NJPAC gala and what can audiences expect to hear from you on Saturday night?
JK: Seth Rudetsky and I are old friends and colleagues and Oberlin Alumni! He asked me to participate which I am thrilled to be doing. The audience can expect to hear some favorite tunes, but I don’t want to give away which ones!
Judy Kuhn in ‘Fun Home’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)
BB: The Women’s Association of NJPAC shares the same mission as you with regards to Arts Education for students. Why is exposure to the performing arts so vital to younger audiences?
JK: I don’t think it can be overstated what arts programs of any kind do for young people, no matter their skills. It builds confidence, encourages and teaches self-expression and collaboration, all of which are crucial for success in any field they may want to go into.
BB: You are no stranger to Sondheim repertoire, having performed in his revival of Passion at Classic Stage Company. What is it about his vast collection of songs that inspires performers to constantly perform and reinvent them?
JK: No one writes for actors the way Sondheim does. He writes the way people think and speak, and the connection between words and music is profound. It is endless what you can explore in his writing.
BB: What is your all-time favorite Sondheim song and why?
JK: That is a tough one…I would say one of my favorites is from Passion: “I Wish I Could Forget You,” which Fosca sings to Giorgio in the form of a letter she dictates to him addressed to her. Complicated, layered and the most heart rending melody. I always loved that moment of the show.
Megan Hilty (photo provided by MiWeb via The Broadway Blog.)
The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) welcomes Megan Hilty and Seth Rudetsky as Mark Cortale’s Broadway @ series comes to the Citi Shubert for the first time ever on Friday, Sept. 18. Hilty, star of stage and television, joins Grammy- and Emmy-nominated Sirius XM Radio star Seth Rudetsky as they shoot the breeze, dish the dirt, and raise the roof with a host of classic Broadway songs.
Megan Hilty is best known for playing the seasoned triple-threat Ivy Lynn in NBC’s musical drama “Smash” for two seasons. On June 8 she appeared in a one-night-only benefit concert of the TV show’s original musical “Bombshell” in New York, which sold out in minutes. In February, Hilty performed at Lincoln Center as part of its American Songbook series.
“I am so excited to come back to Boston,” said Hilty. “It’s such an amazing city. I loved performing at the Hatch Shell for the 4th of July. Even though we had to push the concert a day earlier due to bad weather, the Boston crowds showed up and had a great time.”
Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s “On Broadway” and hosts of “Seth Speaks” on Sirius/XM Stars. As a pianist, Rudetsky has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows. Recently, he co-wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed musical “Disaster!,” a take-off of 1970s disaster movies now slated to transfer to Broadway. His newest book, The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek was published earlier this month by Random House and is available on Amazon.com.
“I’m happy Megan and I are helping the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus,” said Rudetsky. “I have such great memories of singing in chorus, starting in third grade. I’d love to join BGMC but the commute from New York would kill me!”
“The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus has just made history as the first gay chorus to tour the Middle East,” said Craig Coogan the organization’s Executive Director. “How do you top that? Well, bringing in Megan Hilty and Seth Rudetsky is about the only way to do so! We are so lucky to have them come and support our work – it’s going to be a fantastic evening.”
Broadway @ The Shubert starring Megan Hilty
Featuring Sirius XM Star Seth Rudetsky as pianist & host Citi ShubertTheatre 265 Tremont St., Boston
Friday, September 18, 2015
8 p.m. Click here for tickets or visit the Citi Shubert Box Office.
In 1998, Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner became the first actresses ever nominated together for a Best Actress Tony Award, for their performance as the conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton in the original Broadway production of Side Show.
On September 1 and 2 at 7:00 p.m., Mark Cortale will reunite the two heralded stars of that musical for his ground-breaking Broadway @ The Art House series in Provincetown, featuring SiriusXM Star Seth Rudetsky as pianist and host. What differentiates this concert series from any other is the seamless mix of intimate, funny and revealing behind-the-scenes stories from Broadway’s biggest stars and their stellar singing of musical theatre repertoire. F
Alice Ripley received the Tony Award and Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Next to Normal, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations. She starred in the original Broadway casts of Side Show, The Rocky Horror Show, James Joyce’s The Dead, Sunset Boulevard, and The Who’s Tommy.
Emily Skinner (photo provided by MiWeb)
Emily Skinner has established herself as one of Broadway’s most engaging and versatile performers. Most recently she has starred as Adelaide in the world premiere of The Great American Mousical at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre under the direction of Dame Julie Andrews. She also recently created the role of Monique McCandless in Stephen King/John Mellencamp’s new musical The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at the Alliance Theatre and on a multi-city rock n’ roll concert tour. Emily was nominated for a Tony Award (with Alice Ripley) and received a Drama League Award for her performance as Daisy Hilton in the Side Show. Her other original Broadway cast credits include Billy Elliot,Jekyll & Hyde, James Joyce’s The Dead (opposite Christopher Walken), The Full Monty, and Dinner at Eight.
Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s ON BROADWAY as well as the host of SETH SPEAKS on SiriusXM Stars. As a pianist, Seth has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows including Ragtime, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. As an author, he penned the non-fiction Q Guide To Broadway, the novel Broadway Nights and the recently published My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan (Random House). Recently, he co-wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed Disaster!, a 1970’s disaster movie musical which is now slated to transfer to Broadway in 2015. His newest book, The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek was published earlier this month by Random House and is available on Amazon.com For more info visit: www.SethTV.com.
This Broadway @ concert series was inaugurated in 2011 by Producing Artistic Director Mark Cortale @ The Art House in Provincetown featuring Seth Rudetsky as pianist and host. In its fourth season last summer, the series presented Broadway superstars like Kristin Chenoweth, Megan Hilty, Alice Ripley, Cheyenne Jackson and Gavin Creel. More information at markcortalepresents.com.
Do you have Tony Awards madness? The Tony Awards and Dress Circle Publishing announce a special fan experience at the Tony Awards Pop-Up Shop. Author and Broadway personality Seth Rudetsky will be joined by Broadway favorites Julia Murney (Wicked), Priscilla Lopez (In The Heights, the original cast of A Chorus Line), and more who will be reading excerpts from Seth’s Broadway Diary, on Wednesday, June 3 from 6 – 7:00 p.m. The Tony Awards Pop-Up Shop is located at the Paramount Hotel and is open daily to visitors.
Seth’s Broadway Diary is a compilation of Seth’s hilarious, Broadway-centric “Onstage and Backstage” columns for Playbill.com, chronicling his unique life on and around the Great White Way. Seth’s Broadway Diary is full of his personal Broadway experiences, such as going to the final performance and party for Rent, watching in terror as Jeff Bowen was dragged off the stage during [title of show] and the night he saw Spring Awakening and helped Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele break (-ish) the law. Plus, inside scoop on what it’s like performing with tons of fantastic stars like Rosie Perez, Andrea McArdle, Betty Buckley, Bernadette Peters and more.
“I love reading from Seth’s Broadway Diary with the actual celebrities who are featured in it. Especially because the stories about them are usually embarrassing and it’s fun to watch a Broadway star verbally recount something mortifying,” said Seth. “Furthermore, the Tony Awards are always so thrilling and I love that now there’s an entire store dedicated to them. My only devastation is that the store isn’t open all year. NOT cool.”
Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Diary fan experience will take place on Wednesday, June 3rd from 6:00 – 7:00PM, and the Tony Awards Pop-Up Shop, located at the Paramount Hotel on 46th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Seth Rudetsky will be signing books following the reading.
About the Tony Awards Pop-Up Shop
Located at the Paramount Hotel (on 46th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue), The Tony Awards Pop-Up Shop is open to the public seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., through the day of the CBS Tony Awards® telecast on Sunday, June 7.
Pick up exclusive merchandise including t-shirts, pins, posters, mugs, sweatshirts, onesies, hats, binoculars, umbrellas and more. The Pop-Up will also have merchandise available from Tony-eligible shows of the 2014-2015 Broadway season. Tony Awards memorabilia celebrating the last 69 years of the Awards will also be on display.
The Broadway Blog’s editor Matthew Wexler rounds up three of our favorite picks for August.
The dog days of summer are here so what better time to ensconce yourself in a cool, dark theater where someone else is paying the electricity bill? And if you’re entertained, all the better. Our picks for the month run the gamut from star concerts to new works and a few classics for good measure. Take your pick!
Megan Hilty (Photo provided by Provincetown Art House.)
Megan Hilty at the Provincetown Art House August 13 -17
Megan Hilty was a breakout star of NBC’s Smash and starred on Broadway in Wicked and 9 to 5: The Musical. She most recently starred as Liz on NBC’s Sean Saves The World with Sean Hayes of Will & Grace fame. She returns to the original Broadway @ The Art House series this month by popular demand after her sold-out debut run at the theater last summer. She will be joined by husband and fellow Broadway star Brian Gallagher on guitar August 13, 14, 15 and 18, and will be joined by series host and SiriusXM star Seth Rudetsky at piano on August 16 and 17. For tickets, visit The Art House website, or call 508-487-9222.
A native of Seattle, Hilty made her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked shortly after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University and went on to perform the role in both the national tour and in Los Angeles. She has also appeared on New York stages as Lorelei Lee in the Encores! production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, for which she earned rave reviews. For her critically acclaimed portrayal of Doralee Rhodes in Broadway’s 9 to 5: The Musical she received nominations for the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League Awards, as well as the L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Award. She has previously performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center and with the Cincinnati Symphony. Hilty was recently signed to Sony Music in a partnership between Sony Masterworks and Columbia Records. Her new album, It Happens All The Time, was released last spring, including fresh interpretations of compositions by contemporary songwriters and producers.
Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon Broadway host on Sirius XM satellite radio and has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows as well as performing stand-up comedy and appearing on Broadway in The Ritz. As an author, he wrote the books The Q Guide to Broadway, Broadway Nights, and just released his new novel My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan on Random House, and as an audio book on audible.com. This past summer he co-produced of the critically acclaimed play Unbroken Circle by James Wesley, and is co-playwright and star of the hit new Off-Broadway ‘disaster movie musical’ Disaster!, which ran this past season at St. Luke’s Theatre in New York.
About the Series: This Broadway concert series was inaugurated in 2011 by Mark Cortale at The Art House in Provincetown featuring Seth Rudetsky as pianist and host. This 2013-14 series began in Los Angeles @ The Broad Stage, Fort Lauderdale @ The Parker Playhouse, The Poconos @ The Stroudsmoor, Woodstock, NY @ The Woodstock Playhouse, Hartford @ The Bushnell, Detroit @ The Berman Center for the Performing Arts… and next at a city near you soon!
CLICK HERE for tickets. Can’t make the show, consider Kristen Chenoweth (Aug. 10), Bryan Batt (Aug. 24) or Cheyenne Jackson (Aug. 29-31).
The New York International Fringe Festival August 8-24
FringeNYC returns for another year, presenting the largest multi-arts festival in North America. Take your pick from more than 200 companies from around the world. The 16-day festival is presented in more than 20 venues with a staggering 1,200 performances.
A few highlights include:
<50% (Photo by Hunter Canning via The Broadway Blog.)
Annie Hall meets Inception in the new unromantic comedy <50%, which reunites Gianmarco and his ex-girlfriend-of-five-years to reenact the creation of an autobiographical show that may never have happened. With shifting fourth-walls, stand-up comedy confessionals, and an extraordinarily unreliable narrator, the audience is left to uncover the truth for themselves. Directed by Helen Hayes Award-nominated Max Freedman (son of Tony Award Winner Robert L. Freedman, book writer for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder).
Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street
Friday 8/8 @ 7:45pm
Monday 8/11 @ 2:30pm
Friday 8/15 @ 5:30pm
Thursday 8/21 @ 5pm
Saturday 8/23 @ 1pm CLICK HERE for tickets.
tangleplay boom! theater company
Abrazo Interno at the Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street
Glenda Strong enters a place called The Maze where she is commissioned to lose her identity with the help of the people she meets including the audience. Prequel to “boxplay”, awarded Excellence in Overall Production at FringeNYC 2012.
The 8th Fold Sheen Center – The Loretto, 18 Bleecker Street Two planes, two towers and four boys forced into manhood, searching for a path towards a brave new beginning. Direct from London, this new musical celebrates the power of friendship, hope and the courage to start again.
Seth Rudetsky (photo: Coyle Entertainment via The Broadway Blog).
Perhaps your high school days were filled with pranks and hijinks… or late-night rehearsals of The Music Man, Grease, or some other teen-friendly production. Whatever your memories, relive them again with Sirius XM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky for a one-night-only benefit concert, Not Since High School.
The August 24 performance will include: Tony winners Christine Ebersole, LaChanze and James Monroe Iglehart; Sierra Boggess, Jose Llana, Julia Murney, Mario Cantone, Anthony Rapp, Jerry Dixon; Tony Nominees Keala Settle and Emily Skinner and more, with proceeds benefiting the Middle School 245 Music Program. These Broadway performers will sing the classic roles they played as teens while wearing braces and/or breaking out. Roles performed will include Sarah Brown from Guys and Dolls, Seymor from Little Shop, Rizzo from Grease—as well as ones that are hilariously inappropriate for teens, like Carlotta from Follies (“I’m Still Here” sung at age 15).
Wondering how the antics may play out? Check out the last such concert that Rudetsky hosted.
“When I was growing up, I was able to take chorus, chorale, special chorus, band, orchestra and theater. All part of the regular school day! Now public schools have cut most of the arts and they are only available after school with an incredibly limited budget,” says Rudetsky, Seth who has worked as the music director, pianist or conductor for some of Broadway’s biggest stars. “I wound up volunteering as the chorus teacher in my kid’s middle school because they didn’t have one. I want kids growing up today to have the same opportunities my generation had, or we’ll miss out on the next generation of artistic titans. Kids won’t know if they have talent as a musician, actor artist etc. if they don’t have the chance to try it.”
Not Since High School 42West (512 West 42nd Street)
Sunday, August 24
Doors open at 6 p.m. for cocktails and silent auction followed by 7:30 p.m. performance.
Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler risks it all at the Off-Broadway hit, Disaster! and catches up with co-creator Seth Rudetsky.
The cast of “Disaster!” (photo: Jeremy Daniel)
Shortly after Jaws was released and I was old enough to swim at the public pool, I quickly took on the role of that fateful swimmer chomped to bits in the opening scene. Much to my delight, several years later Piranha was released and I could succumb to a watery death all over again (that is, until the lifeguards became tired of my antics).
Clearly I wasn’t the only one obsessed with disaster movies. There was quite a string of them… Airport, The Towering Inferno, and the grandmother of them all — The Poseidon Adventure. Imagine all of them wrapped up into one gloriously ridiculous musical peppered with hits from the ’70s including “Feel So Good,” “Daybreak,” “Hot Stuff” and “Nadia’s Theme.” The list goes on and I wouldn’t dare reveal much more for fear of ruining their most unexpected interjections throughout the course of Disaster!, a new musical playing at St. Luke’s Theatre.
The cast of “Disaster!” (photo by Jeremy Daniel)
Written by longtime collaborators Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick, Disaster! is one big guilty pleasure and holds nothing back. While it’s heavy on schtick, Rudetsky says the show was inspired by the great hits of the ’70s and a crazy idea: “What if we did every single disaster movie ever? We wanted it to be a show that had characters that go on a journey. [It’s about] teaching people how to love – and by the end they realize how to love someone else.”
Rudetsky is no stranger to the artistic form of musical theater. Unlike many industry professionals who pursue careers onstage or behind the scenes, Rudetsky has built a ricochet career that has included playing piano for more than a dozen Broadway shows (he was a piano performance major at Oberlin Conservatory), radio host on Sirius XM, stand-up comedian, staff writer for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, published author and TV host. All of that (and then some) has been poured into Disaster!, in which he also appears.
Casting is half the battle and Rudetsky and team have assembled a collection of seasoned pros and new talent. “People know if they’re going to do something with me they know it’s going to be good. I’m obsessed with talent, not stars,” he admits. Longtime Broadway belter Mary Testa (whose role will be taken over by Annie Golden then Judy Gold) is one of many Rudetskians… a visit to his TV channel reveals candid conversations and exclusive concerts with the likes of Sutton Foster and Patti LuPone. Other stand-out performances in Disaster! include Jennifer Simard as Sister Mary and newcomer Charity Dawson as Levora.
Disaster! is almost too good to be true. When poised with the question of a possible transfer, Rudetsky, who is happy in the old-school St. Luke’s Theatre, says, “There’s lot of talk about everything. I like the proximity of everybody. It’s a little gem of a show. I’m loving it right now where it is.” But as history shows, “where it is” doesn’t last long for Rudestky, who simply just loves the theater and will undoubtedly be dipping his toe into something new before we know it. And if there are piranhas in the pool? Well, that’s OK, too.
Disaster! St. Luke’s Theatre 308 West 46th Street Performs Monday and Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m.
Anika Larsen in "Myths & Hymns". Photo by Richard Termine.
February’s Most Valuable (Theatrical) Player works hard for the money. Actually, given the Off-Broadway venues she performed in this month, I’m guessing she worked hard for not a lot of money. But, oh, the rewards for the audience!
So let’s give a wildly enthusiastic standing ovation to Anika Larsen for her double duty work in Myths and Hymns (for the Prospect Theater Company) and Disaster!(recently extended at the Triad.) In the former, she plumbed the depths of Adam Guettel’s complex and dramatically intense songs with heartbreaking emotional clarity. Then, after a full week of performances, she spent her Sunday nights scaling the heights of silliness as a nun addicted to gambling and 70’s hits. Comedy and tragedy, pathos and parody, Larsen handled it all with her serious acting chops (check her resume full of Broadway and touring gigs) and that impeccable and seemingly limitless voice.
Someone get this woman a starring role on Broadway…if she can fit it into her schedule.
After the jump, watch and listen to Anika as she sings “Fine, Fine Line” from her stint in Avenue Q and as she shows off her big belt to Disaster co-writer, Seth Rudetsky.