ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Braving Snowstorms With Sutton Foster and Anika Larsen's Beautiful Audition

By Seth Rudetsky
03 Feb 2014

What followed was a la a bad sitcom:

QUESTION: "How did you like the meal?"

ANSWER: "I didn't like it. (Pause) I loved it!"

I said, "Can I get on the stand-by list for the 5:30 AM flight?" The woman behind the counter said, "We don't do stand-by lists." (Pause) "However, there's a seat available." Why wasn't that said first?! Regardless, I got on the flight and was so happy to get home! And that night, Sutton came to the show! Sutton visited backstage with Stacey Oristano, who played Truly on "Bunheads." Sutton, of course, played Michele, and I appeared for a solid six minutes in the final episode. We took a photo of us, or as I call it, the three stars of "Bunheads."



Stacy Oristano, Seth Rudetsky and Sutton Foster.

Speaking of Sutton and Disaster!, I had Jennifer Simard on my SiriusXM radio show, "Seth Speaks," and she talked about being on the way home from the Seattle tryout of Shrek. Halfway through the flight, they had to make an emergency landing! It was the real deal; they skidded off the runway into the grass, blew a tire and there was a slew of emergency vehicles waiting. Jen said she was so relieved not to have died in a plane crash but more so not to have died on that particular plane because she knew the headlines would read "Sutton Foster and Others Perish." Jennifer wrote me a hilarious email saying that her concerns, in order of importance were: 1. Death 2. Billing. She claims that she got a rider in her Disaster! contract that if she should die during travel for company business, her name must be listed among the dead. Done!

On "Seth's Broadway Chatterbox," I had Jarrod Spector and Anika Larsen, who are both starring in Beautiful. A lot of Broadway shows do readings and workshops before they go to Broadway and sometimes it can pay off for the pre-Broadway actors and sometimes it can backfire. For instance, Carolee Carmello did all the workshops for The Scarlet Pimpernel, but when it went to Broadway, Christine Andreas got the part. Anyhoo, Anika did the first three workshops of Beautiful as Cynthia Weil and then another actress did the last one. Conversely, there was another actor playing Barry Mann in the first three workshops of Beautiful, and Jarrod just did the last one.

Both Jarrod and Anika had to audition for their roles and were invited to the final call back. Jarrod was excited to go, but Anika was incredibly anxious. She had two weeks of knowing she was going to the call back and all it did was make her more anxiety-ridden. When the audition finally happened, she left it completely depressed. She was sure she didn't get the gig and decided, after many years as an actress, that she was finally going to quit the business. She spent that night Googling other career opportunities and put show business and the audition out of her mind. She was so good at moving on that when her agent called her the next day to tell her she got it, she literally didn't know what job he was talking about! He told her it was Beautiful and she started crying. She then called her mother and father and told them she got it. However, she was sobbing hysterically, so each of them had to ask, "You got it? Wait... that's a good thing, right?" Anyhoo, she and Jarrod adore working together and I love these photos of them that are in her dressing room; they show the real Carole King, Cynthia Weil, Barry Mann and Gerry Goffin and then Jessie Mueller, Anika, Jarrod and Jake Epstein! So cool!

Bottom photo by Joan Marcus.