It’s September and that means my livestream concerts are back!
My first one is this Sunday, September 25th at 8PM ET with the fabulous Julia Murney. I’m sure we’ll do stuff from our time together in Actors Fund concerts (Chess, Funny Girl), plus songs from her stint in Wicked, and songs from her favorite composing team, Kander and Ebb. Here’s a fun little promo I put together featuring her belting some Kander and Ebb in 1999. It was the first time I conducted her on a Broadway stage for the Christopher Reeve foundation. Take a gander and get tix at TheSethConcertSeries.com.
I began last week with the fabulous Jane KrakowskI! Our concert was Monday September 12th, the night of the Emmy Awards. Jane was recently in Schmigadoon!, but wasn’t nominated for an Emmy, which inspired us to make a bit. At the beginning of our concert, I introduced her, and she came out in the most stunning gown. Picture a full-out red carpet Emmy look. She came center stage and told the audience what an honor it was to be there presenting at the Emmy Awards, but I quickly cut her off. I told her this was not the Emmys. She played confused, as if she was sure she was doing the live East Coast feed and Ariana DeBose was doing the West Coast feed. I told her she was decidedly not nominated nor was she invited. She asked where she was, and I told her it was our Town Hall Concert. We launched into the first number, which was a fabulous rendition of Ann Margaret's “13 Men.” The song is about a nuclear bomb explosion that only she and 13 men survive. Jane sexed up the whole song, and we decided to end it with a special twist. It went like this:
Jane sang the lyric, "13 men and me, the only gal in town! There were 13 men--"
We played the final button, but then I sang, loud and proud, "And 12 were gay!"
Stupid? Well, it got a laugh!
We started the evening by talking about our childhoods, how much time we spent auditioning, and that we both auditioned for the kids club called Beginnings. It featured various kids from the Broadway shows of the day like Annie, Peter Pan, and Evita. Shockingly, Jane didn’t book it, but I did! Basically, that was peak of my career.
However, Jane did get the Milliken Breakfast Show, which was done for the Milliken fabric company and featured huge, incredible stars. Everyone wanted to do it because the pay was astronomical. Plus, the children in the cast were called “Millikiddies.” The first most important element was that you tried on and fit into the costume. If you could wear it comfortably, you were allowed to audition. Jane said she did it for three years when she was a size six, seven, and eight, then immediately clarified that it was a children’s size eight. Her first year, she did a scene opposite the great Gloria Swanson. Can you imagine!
Years later, she was starring opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in Once Upon A Mattress. Sarah had also been a Millikiddie. For Once Upon A Mattress opening night, Jane gave Sarah a framed photo of themselves as kids auditioning together in a kick line! I talked to Sarah about it during our concert in Provincetown. She loves the fact that in the photo Jane’s leg is sky high and her leg is one foot off the ground and bent!
Jane and I sang so many songs together, everything from Grand Hotel, Nine, She Loves Me, and Guys and Dolls. Then, we invited two audience members up for a 30 Rock quiz. Jane and I would act out a scene, and before the end, we’d ask them a question. Then, we’d watch the scene to see if they were correct. One question we asked was when Jenna tries out for Gossip Girl, does she think she’s trying out for role of the mother or the role of the daughter?
Naturally, the answer is the daughter.
In the show, Jenna gets the role of the mother. We asked the contestants how old Jenna has to play. The answer is 41, but the contestant unfortunately guessed 54. Jane immediately yelled, “F**k you!”
By the way, you must watch the Gossip Girl episode. It ends with Jenna on a chaise saying, “I’m 41 now. Time to die.” And she does.
Jane and I also recreated the piece I wrote with Tina Fey for a 2016 foster care benefit. Each participant was supposed to sing a song that inspired them. Tina came out and told everyone that the supposedly inspirational song she had chosen actually had a horrific message. Jane sang it at the benefit while Tina deconstructed. We basically did the same thing with Jane singing and deconstructing it at the same time.
So Jane sings the lyric, "Baby cried the day the circus came to town."
Okay because the circus is traveling to her town so we know this song takes place in either 19th century Europe or present day Rhode Island. Also, is her name actually Baby? If you check the sheet music, the name is not in quotes. I feel that by naming her Baby, her parents set her up to fail in certain ways like, crying in her mid-30s because of a circus.
My favorite part is one that Jane amended. After she sang, "while she danced without a net upon the wire," Jane said, "I was wondering if this was a euphemism or a weird Julie Taymor dance piece. Then I wondered if it was actually about my Tony Award-winning performing in Nine where I danced literally without a net. However, I did some research and found out the song was written in 1977, way before I was born."
That was a big hit, and then we ended the concert with a surprise appearance from Jane’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt co-star, Tituss Burgess! He looked amazing, and the two of them did the “Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy” duet. It was so good!
We also performed “A Trip To The Library” from She Loves Me, and Jane talked about doing “Ilona” with Gavin Creel. At one point, she goes into a full split and he drags her across the stage. Jane said Gavin nicknamed that move the “still got it!”
Here it is!
I interview Lena Hall on Seth Speaks, my SiriusXM talk show, and we talked about her recent performance as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. I told her that when I did the Legally Blonde reality show with her, I was blown away by her incredible voice and dance ability. I’m such a product of my mom’s upbringing. My mom believed people only did one thing well. She'd say things like, “Why is Patti LuPone starring in a musical? She was an acting major at Juilliard!”
Lena told me she wasn’t a great singer as a kid. Turns out, she had giant tonsils. This wasn't just when she was sick, but all the time. When she was sick, they were enormous. She said that when she was doing Tarzan on Broadway, she got sick and showed Shuler Hensley her tonsils. When he saw them, he literally screamed. He then quickly brought her to Tom Schumacher, who sent her to a doctor so she could have her tonsils removed. After the surgery, Lena felt all this space in her throat open up, and her voice got a million times better!
Here she is in my talk show Seth’s Broadway Chatterbox when she was starring in Hedwig!
And finally, speaking of Tony Award winners, come see me and Chita Rivera in Worcester, MA on September 24th!
Here is an amazing Kander and Ebb tribute on the Dinah Shore show with Liza Minelli and Chita right around the time Chita was starring in Chicago. Chita does an amazing rendition of “How Lucky Can You Get,” and Liza does the classic “Maybe This Time."
Watch and then get tix to see me and Chita!