ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Pitching In After the Hurricane, Plus Annie, Drood and Lizz Winstead

By Seth Rudetsky
05 Nov 2012

Lilla and Seth

I just saw Annie, and as I watched it I thought about the development of that particular musical. At first, the concept was for Annie to be played by…Bernadette Peters! They would have had an adult Annie. Also, the show could have been an adventure about the Little Orphan Annie we all know from the comics, but instead it was about how she became the Little Orphan Annie we all know from the comics. P.S., there's so much talent on that stage! Special shout-out to Anthony Warlow who took a role I never really like (I spent my childhood constantly picking up the needle whenever "Something Was Missing" began to play) and not only sounded great, but added some great laughs!

Of course, I always love Katie Finneran in anything, but my experience was clouded by the knowledge that someone in my generation is playing Miss Hannigan! I still think of myself as a Tessie...possibly a Duffy. I can't believe my peers (and I) have graduated to the adult roles I knew as a child. And, speaking of children, Lilla Crawford (who plays Annie) is great. Great actress, smoky Andrea McArdle-esque speaking voice and delish vibrato. She was "swung out" of the show last week (they put her understudy on to give Lilla a rest) and wound up coming to the taping of "Seth Speaks" because she and her mom are fans! She's adorable. We took a photo together where I show my pretend anger (not really pretend) that she gets to play Annie and I don't!

James, Juli and I also saw The Mystery of Edwin Drood and we had a great time. That cast is so talented and funny! I did a Playbill "Obsessed!" video with Stephanie J. Block where we discuss the amazing song "The Writing on the Wall" and the whole thing ends with her belting and tap dancing. Watch!


On Saturday we saw a great production of the operetta The Medium starring Jeffrey Roberson (a.k.a. Varla Jean Merman). He plays the title role (which was written for a woman) and sings the whole thing in the correct keys! Except for one song, which was taken down a step. The introduction for the song is two notes descending…and they added one more note to take the key down. Jeff said that at one performance the first two notes played, then the third one played, which indicated the song was being lowered. As soon as the third note played, he heard a loud guffaw from the audience. Devastating. Then he had to sing. The Medium is running in rep with Well-Strung, the singing string quartet. They play classical music and pop music and sing harmonies. I just did an "Obsessed!" video with them, too. Watch!


On the home front, I've been getting so many nice congratulations from people for my marriage.

Will Swenson sent me this text: Wanted to send you and James a huge congrats. So f-ing great. Old, married theater nerds rock!

I responded: Very sweet! What the f is with the "old"?

He wrote back: Apologies. I turn 40 this week so I'm slight age-paranoid at the moment. Then, he added, Also…we're old.


Tonight (Monday), I'm performing on Broadway in a benefit for Only Make Believe, a great charity that brings theatre to hospitalized kids. It's honoring Sir Ian McKellen and being hosted by Chris Meloni. Tix at OnlyMakeBelieve.org. And this Friday I fly to L.A. to do Seth's Big Fat Broadway at the Rose Center in Orange County. Tix are here. Then, Dec. 1, I'm in Louisville. Tix are here. Then, on Dec. 3-4, I host Gypsy of the Year and on Dec. 5 I leave for the Playbill Broadway On the High Seas 2 cruise! And speaking of leaving, peace out!

(Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon Broadway host on SiriusXM. He has played piano for over 15 Broadway shows, was Grammy-nominated for his concert CD of Hair and Emmy-nominated for being a comedy writer on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." He has written two novels, "Broadway Nights" and "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan," which are also available at Audible.com. He recently launched SethTV.com, where you can contact him and view all of his videos and his sassy new reality show.)