BWW Interview: Seth Rudetsky of BROADWAY'S BEST at NJPAC
If Max Bialystock used to be the king of Broadway, Seth Rudetsky has since taken over the throne.
Not only was he juggling the album release of Disaster! on the day we met for this interview in a (noisy from construction) park on the Upper West Side, but at the same time, spearheading a dance remix video to Broadway for Orlando's 'What The World Needs Now Is Love.' "We are filming a whole video with the ladies who did Beyonce's 'Single Ladies,'" Seth explained. "We are hoping that raises more money and more awareness."
So far, Seth says, the song performed by a long list of Broadway stars including Bernadette Peters, Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald, Chita Rivera and Brian Stokes Mitchell has raised more than $100,000 for the LGBT community following the Orlando, Florida nightclub massacre in June. Seth and his husband, James Wesley, will be recognized next week for their contribution to the community. "All these victims and I wonder why I am being honored?" Seth questioned. "I didn't suffer. But hopefully by honoring [us], it will inspire others to go out and do something and not feel helpless."
Seth is probably the busiest person on Broadway. Organizing the touching tribute was one of many projects the musician, actor and Sirius XM radio host had been working on at the time. On October 7, he'll perform in a show called Broadway's Best at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark with Kerry Butler, Roger Bart and Kevin Chamberlin.
When NJPAC asked Seth to join their season lineup with an original production, he knew exactly what to do. "[The show] was Kevin Chamberlin's idea. He [wanted] to do a show of comedy, funny songs and sketches," Seth said. The Friday night act will be full of comedic sketches. "Something similar to I Love Lucy where Ethel sang opera and they did all this stuff upstage. Instead of a show that's music and comedy, it's going to be all comedy where the music is included in the comedy."
Speaking of comedy, his Broadway baby, Disaster! closed last season on a high note. Jennifer Simard was Tony Award nominated for best featured actress in a musical and the cast made national headlines for many of its viral video post performances that raised money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. One of them was Rosie O'Donnell singing a Donald Trump parody to 'There Are Worst Things I Could' from Grease. I happened to be at that show and spoke to Rosie outside the theater. She was very cordial as she held the folded up piece of paper with her lyrics written on it. "It was [initially] Matt Polk's idea," Seth said. "We were trying to raise money with performances on stage, and I thought of doing these homages to people in the cast."
One standout was a Hairspray reunion of sorts. "The Hairspray one was amazing because we had Matthew Morrison, Marissa Jaret Winokur (who flew in from LA), Kerry Butler and a new guy (Donell James Foreman) played Seaweed." Marc Shaiman came too. "To have the actual composer play ['Without Love'] --- I loved it-- and it was so exciting to hear that music again."
His one regret: "I think I wanted Rachel [York] to sing 'Lost and Found' from City of Angels but the night we had free she had a cold. Remember, she was 19 in a towel?"
I don't remember, because I didn't see it. But if you want to remember Disaster!, you might be able to catch it across the pond. "I can't give all the details but we are planning a one day performance of Disaster! in London," Seth teased.
Catch some of the cast reunite for Broadway's Best At NJPAC, Friday, October 7th at 7:30pm.