I love Broadway musicals. And I love people who love Broadway musicals, which is why I’m sending Seth Rudetsky a valentine.
Seth Rudetsky is, among many other things, a musician, coach, performer and composer with his own cabaret and radio shows. He also has a plethora of videos and podcasts on youtube and Playbill in which he obsesses over and/or deconstructs various performers, songs and scenes from Broadway musicals. These are frequently hilarious, but they’re also incredibly instructive. His musicianship is phenomenal, and his consistent ability to make you go “Wow, I never thought of that before,” even with respect to musicals you’ve listened to hundreds of times, is outstanding. I love that he’s “obsessed,” because God knows I’ve worn out my share of vinyl just to hear those special moments from shows one more time.
I’ve only started delving into this archive, but so far my favorite video is his recent session with Carolee Carmello. I’ve enjoyed her work as far back as AMC’s “Remember WENN,” and her performance as Lucille Frank in “Parade” was one for the ages (I’ll be discussing “Parade,” a show in my Top Five Musicals, very soon). This video is a crack-up: I love her panic and self-deprecating laugh when she can’t pick up the point at which Seth begins “The Winner Takes It All,” even though she sang it literally hundreds of times in “Mamma Mia!” (The “Oh, my uterus!” is a reference to an earlier video he did with Nancy Opel, Patti LuPone’s understudy in “Evita,” who resorted to emergency subtext during a very funny stage mishap.) Can Ms. Carmello nail it or what?
Even though I’ve yet to see her on stage, Lauren Kennedy’s video with Seth is another hoot. Her story about Mike Nichols is an eye opener, but her ability to belt a high note after drinking wine and her subsequent “screw you” look at her co-star had me rolling on the floor.
And don’t miss his take on the “Turkey Lurkey” number from the original production of “Promises, Promises.”
Keep going, Seth–you’re a treasure.