Review: SETH'S BIG FAT BROADWAY SHOW at Theatre Raleigh

The ah-MAZing Seth Rudetsky came to town for one night only!

By: Jun. 24, 2024
Review: SETH'S BIG FAT BROADWAY SHOW at Theatre Raleigh
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

Next up in Theatre Raleigh’s 2024 concert series is Seth Rudetsky. For those unfamiliar, he’s a DJ for SiriusXM on Broadway. He’s worked for more than 20 years as an actor, writer, pianist, and conductor working on blockbuster musicals such as Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, and The Producers. He came to the Triangle area for one night only with Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Show. It’s been described as a combination of America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Tony Awards, and The Daily Show. Unlike previous installments of Theatre Raleigh in Concert, Seth Rudetsky doesn’t treat the audience with musical performances.

Instead, he treats them with a crash course by giving his trademark “deconstructions,” in which he uses his audio collection to break down classic performances. On paper, it may sound really boring. Although as the great filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock once said, “exposition is a pill that must be sugar-coated.” That’s exactly what Seth does with his crash course. By infusing such high energy and humor, he delivers a 90 minute show that leaves people both entertained and educated at the same time. Part of his show involves him doing some excellent lip synching to samples of his audio collection, which is very amusing.

At the start, Seth told a story about how he first got invested in Broadway. It all began when he was an infant listening to The Most Happy Fella on a phonograph. From there, he talks about how hearing it so often makes him begin deconstructing it. He also did a compare and contrast of how a line from the song ‘Rainbow High’ from Evita was performed by Patti LuPone in the original Broadway cast and Madonna in the 1996 film adaptation. Later on, he did the same thing for some of the songs from Fiddler on the Roof with how they’re traditionally performed and how The Osmonds interpreted them for a medley once. When it comes to things that thrill him and give him headaches, he still tends to be drawn to the latter which is why he comes back to them.

Seth also discussed how when it comes to female voices, there are differences between a belter and a soprano and that not everyone can pull off both. Yet a major exception to that rule is Judy Kuhn. She notably opened 2 shows in the 1986-87 Broadway season, both of which went on to earn Tony nominations for Best Musical. The first was the short-lived Rags, where she got to be a belter as Bella Cohen. The second was the eventual winner of that year, Les Misérables, where she got to be a soprano as Cosette. The audience got to hear samples of both performances.

You know how sometimes artists can deliver good work while other times, they don’t? Seth went into that with a segment titled “What were they thinking?.” One example he mentioned was Liza Minnelli. Around the early 1970s, she delivered an Oscar-winning performance in Bob Fosse’s film adaptation of Cabaret. Yet while making her seventh studio album, The Singer, things didn’t go as well in part due to what her day was like prior to a recording session. If the first thing you ever experience from a certain artist is something you don’t particularly care for, don’t jump to conclusions by assuming their entire body of work is like that. Instead, be more like a detective by digging into what into that as well as the better stuff they’ve done.

One of the last things Seth did was talk about how certain performers can add their own little riffs to classic songs. One example he mentioned was Billy Porter bringing his own flavor to ‘Beauty School Dropout’ as Teen Angel in the 1994 Broadway revival of Grease. If you listen to it on the cast album, you can definitely hear that he really put his own stamp on it. Overall, Seth's Big Fat Broadway Show made for one helluva night. If you're a fan of his and he happens to be in a town near you, you should definitely see him live.

Coming up in Theatre Raleigh in Concert is two-time Tony nominee Eva Noblezada on August 3rd and Tony winner Stephanie J. Block on December 7th. For more information, please click here.


To post a comment, you must register and login.


Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid theatergoer? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here.