Wah! I finally left Provincetown after being there for two weeks! I love P-town and I’m sad to not be writing this in my signature chair on the porch of the Anchor Inn. I have some traveling coming up, though: this Thursday, I’ll be doing my deconstructing show (Seth’s Big Fat Broadway) in Huntsville, Alabama and the very next day I’ll be doing two shows with Will Swenson in Indianapolis. Then I’m New Orleans with Faith Prince on Friday, September 22nd and then on Broadway with Patti LuPone on Sunday, September 24th! Details for everything at SethRudetsky.com/appearances
I just did a show with Ana Gasteyer in Provincetown and she sounded fantastic as usual. I think audiences are always shocked at how great her voice is and how crazily high she can sing. Watch and listen!
I knew Ana played Elphaba early on in the run of Wicked on Broadway, but didn’t know that she was one of the final few up for the role right before it came to Broadway. Brava! I also didn’t know that the reason she got her audition for Saturday Night Live is because Will Farrell recommended her to Lorne Michaels. She was told to record herself doing some characters and she chose the NPR lady (which became a big hit on the show) and a veeJay. She and I both still think of VeeJay’s as cutting edge and hip…meanwhile, she was recently telling her kids about her SNL audition and both of them had no idea what a veeJay was.
She also had to do imitations and realizes now that she did not have a clear idea what demographic SNL wanted to please (male, 18-25 years old). That’s right, her other imitation was of Cokie Roberts. Frat boys love that! Nonetheless, she was cast.
Doing SNL wasn’t like doing a regular TV series or Broadway show where there is a set system of how rehearsals/performances work that everyone knows. She said it was more like (shrug) “I hope you get the right subway.” On her first show day someone called her over and asked, “Hey! Do you know how this day is going to go?” and she was like “Not really” and he quickly talked her through it…ish. She was featured on the show every week but was warned constantly by other people that women were usually fired from the show. Finally, after a few months, she felt confident in her job because of the reaction to this Martha Stewart Topless Xmas sketch. Watch it here.
She also talked about performing as Celine Dion at the Madison Square Garden Celine Dion concert and about the afterparty. Ana said she is fascinated by divas and diva demands: When Ana got to the party, it was extremely hot. Why? Because Celine needs to protect her voice and therefore doesn’t want any air conditioning. Well, everyone was stifling in the heat. Finally, Celine showed up, stayed for around 20 minutes, during which she had a tiny appetizer and thimble full of champagne. She said goodbye to all and left. Ana said that the second Celine left, there was an enormous electronic boom as the entire air conditioning unit fired up as well as a giant flash as everyone, in unison, lit cigarettes.
Aside from my concert wtih Ana in P-town, I also did a concert with the wonderful Jessie Mueller who I convinced to do a preview of her upcoming Carousel performance on Broadway by singing “What’s The Use Of Wondering” into “If I Loved You.” Holy cow. The stunning voice plus the vulnerability made the audience in Provincetown go crazy. That revival is going to be amazing!
The Provincetown Broadway series at Town Hall raised money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and we did this fun photo op with the final check!
I saw Jessie as Carole King twice in Beautiful and I loved all those moments where she sat at the piano and played for herself…like the opening song (“So Far Away”) and the finale (“Beautiful”). I knew that the strings inside the onstage piano were taken out so the piano in the pit was the one the audience was hearing , but I was so impressed that Jessie obviously knew how to play piano fiercely because she matched the accompaniment so incredibly well. Well, I found out that Jessie actually only knew what hands were playing at what time and what area of the piano they were playing. Hm… let me rephrase that to say she knew what general area of the piano was being played. Yes, during our concert, she went to the piano and showed everyone what it would have sounded like if the onstage piano actually had strings. WOWZA! Not one correct note. The audience was hysterical!!!! It was basically her playing the rhythm of the accompaniment and those sassy octaves at the end of “Beautiful” but with completely 100 percent wrong notes. Like five cats stomping across the piano. Watch the incredible sassafrass and confidence she shows while performing on The Today Show and just realize that if you could hear what she was actually playing, you’d hear a full four-minute atonal clambake.
And finally, here’s some amazing exclusive footage of the rehearsal/concerts I did with Patti LuPone in London. She sounds incredible doing all of her hits and some she hadn’t sung in years…and soon we’re going to be doing it on Broadway! Yes! One night only, Sunday September 24, Patti and I will do Deconstructing Patti which will feature a ton, and I mean a ton, of songs from all of Patti’s Broadway shows with amazing guest stars who I cannot mention. For those who never got to see her do shows like Evita or Anything Goes live, this is your chance! It’s a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and it’s the same day as the Broadway Flea Market so get thee to New York! Purchase tickets at BroadwayCares.org. Peace out!
Watch more Deconstructing with Seth: