ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Seth's Adventures With Marissa Jaret Winokur, Debbie Reynolds and Megan Mullally

By Seth Rudetsky
08 Apr 2013

Seth and James with Debbie Reynolds

Speaking of "likes," I lo-o-o-o-ove the film "Singin' in the Rain" and I was so excited this week because I interviewed Debbie Reynolds! I asked her to verify a crazy story I had heard about Irene, her big Broadway vehicle from the '70s, and she told me that it was indeed true. When she was in rehearsal with director and choreographer Gower Champion, he told her that the producers wouldn't give the show an extra two days of rehearsal to perfect some dance routines with the cast. Debbie wanted Gower to have that time, so she told him she was going to pretend to knock herself out. He had no idea what she meant so she spelled it out; she told him to ask her to "practice the new forward roll he had added" (a lie), and then she'd do a flip towards the pit and land on the stage with a fake injury. Sure enough, he called the cast onstage, asked Debbie to try the new flip and right after she did it, she lay on the stage "unconscious." They rushed her to the hospital and when Gower knelt down super-close to her unconscious face, she gave him a very quick wink. The producers had to postpone the first preview by two days, which gave Gower the time he needed. And the show was a hit!

Back to last week. I forgot to write about one of the things that happened during The Daring Duo. The theatre we performed in was so small so we could hear any noise the audience made–during one show, I heard someone panting non-stop. Literally pant, pant, pant, pant the whole time. I didn't look in the direction of the sound, deciding that I didn't want to see what someone who got winded from sitting looked like. Then I heard non-stop bracelet jangling from the same direction. Again, I ignored. After the show, I was chatting with Julia Murney, who was sitting in that area and she told me that the jangling bracelets were actually the sound of a small bag adorned with chains that a woman had on her lap and the panting I heard was actually being emitted from what was inside the bag–a doggie! That's right, a woman came with a small service dog. And the dog watched all of The Daring Duo. Apparently he loved it.