Krysta Rodriguez’s Spring Awakening Audition Story Has Ties to In The Heights

Seth Rudetsky   Krysta Rodriguez’s Spring Awakening Audition Story Has Ties to In The Heights
 
This week, Seth faces travel woes and prepares for the Broadway Flea Market.
Broadway For All Gala_Cabaret at the Circus_2019_X_HR
Krysta Rodriguez Janice Yam

Happy post-Tony awards! I had a wonderful Tony night hosting a watch party at Asylum NYC. That’s the same location that I’ll be doing my new show Seth’s Broadway Breakdown. Why, yes, you can buy tickets for it. Go here.

Anyhoo, Sunday was great after a headache travel weekend. It all began Friday as I was traveling to Provincetown, Massachusetts, from NYC for that night’s concert with Krysta Rodriguez. This summer, I’ve been getting there by flying to Hyannis on Cape Cod and then Thom Vindiola (who works for my producer) takes me the 1 hour drive to P-town. My flight was at 11:20 AM, which would get me in around 12:15 PM and then I’d have a few hours to relax and have fun leading to my 4 PM sound check and 7 PM show. I’d never done a concert with Krysta before, so I wanted to make sure I ran through all of the songs I didn’t know. Instead, my flight was delayed until Noon, then 1 PM, then 3 PM. That meant I’d get there at 4 PM with just enough time to do a crazy quick run-through of the songs I didn’t know.

The delays were because there wasn’t a first officer for the flight. He was on a delayed flight coming in from Boston. Suddenly, they announced that the flight was now leaving… at 5 PM. That meant getting to Cape Cod at 6 and getting into town after the show was scheduled to begin. I texted Mark Cortale, my producer, and he told me not to worry. He’d handle it. I got on the plane around 4PM and was overjoyed when they said we could leave early… until they told us that some people had left the boarding area and they had to be paged. I felt like Jennifer Saunders on Absolutely Fabulous when they’re in India and her daughter faints from the heat and Jennifer’s in the air-conditioned car and screams “Leave her! Leave her!” I could not believe we had to wait for them, ugh. Finally, we were ready to leave at 5PM… until they told us the people who move the ramps weren’t available to move the ramps. Finally, we left and landed at 6:30 PM and I got to Provincetown at 7:45 PM—45 minutes after the show was supposed to start. Luckily, the hamlet is so Mom & Pop, Mark was able to contact all the ticket holders and tell them we were starting late.

The stain on Seth's shirt just before going on stage
The stain on Seth's shirt just before going on stage Seth Rudetsky

I arrived in the shorts and t-shirt I had been traveling in and quickly drank a chocolate protein shake before going onstage. Right before I walked out I took a final sip and it spilled down the front of my shirt. The good news is I was so happy the audience waited to see the show. The bad news is I had to sightread music in real time. It ended up being really fun, though, to have that in-the-moment feeling and focus. I loved reading the songs cold because it was like my old days playing auditions. The craziest song I had to play was “Ammonia” by Joe Iconis, but I loved it! Watch it here.

Krysta had so many amazing showbiz stories. She talked about when she was 21 and heard about Spring Awakening which was about to come to Broadway. She really wanted to be in it and kept trying to get an audition, but she was repeatedly told she was too old. She knew she looked young enough and just wanted a chance. Eventually, she went to an open call. She waited and waited to go in and sing, even though she had a callback for the off-Broadway run of In The Heights. Her agent called and told her to leave the (damn) open call and get to her actual callback. She reluctantly did and was devastated because she really wanted to be in Spring Awakening. Well, the next day, she heard from the casting director who felt bad that Krysta had waited and not been seen and told her to come in as a courtesy. But, she told Krysta in no uncertain terms: she would definitely not be getting a call back. Of course, Krysta not only got a callback, she got into the original Broadway cast. And even though she wasn’t able to do In The Heights off-Broadway, she was in the original Broadway cast. Krysta was a swing in Spring Awakening (meaning she understudied multiple roles) and she was laughing telling me about going on in the middle of the show.

If you remember, there were chairs onstage where audience members would sit. Sitting there as well were the swings who would be in street clothes. If Krysta had to go on in the middle of the show, the stage manager would come out, tap her on the shoulder and Krysta would go backstage, change into costume and join the show. She said the people sitting near her would think it was bizarre because it looked like Spring Awakening would just randomly pick audience members to join the show. That’s kind of what Mo Rocca thought as a child; he told me he memorized Mandy Patinkin’s part from Evita because he thought if Mandy ever had to miss, there needed to be someone who could go on. And Mo decided that he would be that person. But instead of being picked from the audience, I guess he thought they would somehow know his home phone number and give him a call? It wasn’t a fully fleshed-out theory…but it didn’t stop him from memorizing every lyric.

Halston_Liza_With_A_Z_Krysta_Rodriguez_OVERRIDE

Of course, Krysta and I talked about her playing Liza in the Halston limited series that was recently on Netflix. I played “Liza With A Z” for her and was so happy to hear her do the Liza pronunciation of “or Fay” during the bridge. If you don’t know, Liza is listing all the names she could be and instead of singing “…or Ginger or Fay.” She sings, “…or Ginger more Fay.” I’ve always been obsessed with the added M (and vibrato) and was so excited when Krysta did it without my prompting during our concert. Remember, we hadn’t rehearsed so I heard for the first time while we were performing it. I was beaming! Krysta said she has a friend who also loves that weird adding of an “M” and wants his drag name to be Ginger Morfay. Watch Liza do it at 1:22.

WATCH: Watch Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli Performing ‘Liza With a Z’ in Halston

Attention theater lovers: this Sunday is the annual amazing Broadway Flea Market. I’m going to be at the Stars in the House table in Shubert Alley with James and my SiriusXM co-host Christine Pedi as well as SITH staff peeps and my good friends Paul Castree and Stephen Spadaro. We’ll be selling (proceeds go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) things like Stars in the House and Concert For America autographed posters, my book Seth’s Broadway Diary (a compilation of my Playbill columns), and so much more. Then in the late afternoon, I’m gonna “clear for talent,” as they say, and rush home to rehearse with Shayna Steele for my 8 PM live concert. Shayna is my first guest in my Seth Concert Series. I just got her song list and it has so many of my favorites from Wicked, Hair, Rent, The Wiz, and more. Since the concert is completely live, we’ll be reading comments in real time and taking your song suggestions, so who knows what else she’ll sing. Get tix at TheSethConcertSeries.com. And if you haven’t heard why I’m obsessed with her, watch this!

This week, we celebrated National Podcast Day so I wanted to say I’m well into Season 3 of my podcast Seth Rudetsky’s Back To School, on which I interview celebrities solely about their high school years. I just interviewed Judd Apatow (which will be edited and posted soon) and was laughing so hard about the teacher in his school named Richard Less. That unfortunate name meant that everyone shortened Richard to Dick and therefore called him “D**k Less.” That’s the kind of comedy I want all day long. You can hear all three seasons with my fabulous guests, like Tina Fey, Vanessa Williams, Rosie Perez, Bowen Yang, Patrick Wilson, and more wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Happy Fall and peace out!

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