Why Did Jeremy Jordan Sing Naked on a Broadway Stage?

Seth Rudetsky   Why Did Jeremy Jordan Sing Naked on a Broadway Stage?
 
This week in the life of Seth Rudetsky, Seth shares highlights and stories from his concert with the original Newsies star—plus a look back at Obsessed! with Keala Settle.
Seth Rudetsky and Jeremy Jordan
Seth Rudetsky and Jeremy Jordan

Well, I’m back in the cold after a brief respite of Florida warmth. Ah. It was delicious. And then gone. I was down there to start the season I do at The Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. My first guest was Jeremy Jordan and it was the first time we’ve done a full show together. Holy cow is his voice amazing. And such musicality! WOWZA! And incredible breath control. I can’t!

Anyhoo, we first talked about his move to NYC after college and his attempt to get a waitering gig. He had a résumé filled with “restaurants” he “worked” at. I’m putting “worked” in quotes because he had never actually worked as a waiter and flat-out lied about it on his résumé to try to get a gig. And the word “restaurants” is in quotes is because he told us that he researched restaurants in his hometown of Corpus Christie and only wrote down ones that had closed! That way no one could call for a reference! Brilliant! Well, maybe people were onto him because no one was hiring. (He literally had “Benihana” as one of these restaurants and, as far as I know, they only hire Asian people. Research, Jeremy, research!) Finally, he showed up at 44X10, which is on 44th Street and Tenth Avenue (a great restaurant), and the guy hiring didn’t ask about his résumé, he instead asked if he was a singer. Jeremy said yes. The guy then asked to look at his book of audition material. Seriously! He flipped through it, stopped on “Anthem,” and asked Jeremy to sing it (!). Jeremy sang it a cappella and, after the last note, the guy told him to show up Thursday at 4 to start training. #werk!

We wound up singing “You And Me But Mostly Me,” the duet from Book of Mormon that almost happened for him. Jeremy said that he auditioned for the show and they told him he’d get a callback at some point, but didn’t know when that would be. A while later, he went on a week’s vacation to the Bahamas with his wife (the super talented Ashley Spencer) and suddenly Book of Mormon called and told him to come in the next day for his callback. Naturally, he dropped Ashley and hightailed it home. Actually, he didn’t want to ixnay his vacation so he didn’t go in. Brava to not changing your life for a callback! And maybe one day I’ll be like him. (Yes, I literally spent HUNDREDS of dollars to change a flight and rush home early from a weekend wedding to do a four-minute appearance on a local news show. I knew it would be worth it because it would pay off career-wise*.)
*It still hasn’t paid off career-wise.

He sang the song “Bonnie” from the Broadway show Bonnie and Clyde (he played Clyde), which the character sang in a bathtub, naked. He said that he was indeed naked in the onstage bathtub, but so it wasn’t super awkward for Laura Osnes, who sat on the rim of the tub for the entire song, they covered his “down there” with a kind of nylon stocking. And then, so it would still look like he was in a bath, they covered it all in bubble wrap. Perfect! They knew that seeing an actual penis underwater is more awkward than seeing a penis smashed in lady undergarment material that’s wrapped up and ready to be mailed by UPS. ‘Natch. Here’s the song:

Jeremy talked about how he really wanted to play Jamie in the film version of The Last Five Years and they asked him to audition with the song “If I Didn’t Believe In You.” Then the feedback was they weren’t sure if he was funny. He was like, “Right. Next time don’t ask to audition with a song that’s one of the most serious in the film!” He went back, sang the comedic “Shiksa Goddess,” and did a great job…but he knew there were still doubts about him. So, instead of following that annoying theory “Just don’t want the job. Then you’ll get the job!” he wrote an email to the director telling him what the show meant to him and how much he wanted the job. And he got it! Yay! I finally have permission to be needy!

That was his first big film role; his first television gig was on Law and Order. His TV girlfriend was murdered and when the police came to tell him, he was supposed to be making out with another girl. He was on the apartment set with the girl and they heard people coming up the stairs. They started making out so they could be discovered. Well, turns out, no one entered the apartment. Huh. They assumed something went wrong. Then they heard people outside the door again. And they began frantically making out. People entered…but it wasn’t the actors, it was more crew. Then Jeremy and the girl playing his girlfriend had their mics put on. That’s right. They were so “green” they didn’t know you had to wait to be in actual microphones, cameras had to be on and the word “action” had to be said.

He also got a great TV acting tip from Chris Meloni; Chris’ character was telling Jeremy that his girlfriend was murdered and Jeremy was supposed to be not taking it in yet also being devastated. Jeremy demonstrated how he acted it and it was very real: basically looking around and down. Chris told him to stop moving. And just look into his eyes. Chris said that the audience won’t know what he’s feeling if they can’t see his eyes. I will totally take that advice. If I ever ever get to be on TV. Speaking of which, Robin de Jesus texted me because he was at the gym and listening to the brilliant Lillias White on the Actors Fund Dreamgirls concert cast recording that I produced. Then he sent me this. Watch!

And finally: SO SO SO happy that the song Keala Settle sings in The Greatest Showman won the Golden Globe.

Read More: BROADWAY’S KEALA SETTLE TALKS ABOUT SINGING GREATEST SHOWMAN’S ANTHEM ‘THIS IS ME’

If you haven’t seen us do this Obsessed, watch this asap then peace out!

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