Seth Rudetsky channels his inner Broadway diva in new show
To say the multitalented Seth Rudetsky is a busy guy is an understatement. Best known to fans as the host of Sirius FM radio’s Broadway channel, Rudetsky is an accomplished musician, performer, writer, comedian, and dad. On Thursday, April 21, he’ll demonstrate these varied skills live with “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Show” at the Broward Center.
It’s no surprise Rudetsky turned into a Broadway diva, especially to his family and friends: “One of my earliest memories of musical theater was my parents taking me to see the last year of ‘Hair’ on Broadway when I was four years old. I was sitting in an aisle seat with my mother’s hands firmly clamped over my eyes. But, even before that, my parents played show albums and there’s a recording of me at three years old singing along with ‘The Most Happy Fella’ in my own signature Long Island accent.”
Rudetsky’s obsession with Broadway matured as he aged and he still categorizes his childhood and youth in terms of the shows with which he was obsessed. In third grade, he was enthralled with “A Chorus Line” and later channeled his own inner diva through “Dreamgirls” in tenth grade, with dozens of other shows occupying his attention in between. He’s also quick to point out that he was crazy about the gritty musical “In the Heights” just a couple of years ago when the show was named Best Musical.
Rudetsky turned to classical music and earned a degree in piano performance from the esteemed Oberlin Conservatory, but soon heard the call of the Great White Way and was writing, producing and conducting shows before landing his dream job at Sirius XM.
When he takes the stage in South Florida this week, Rudetsky emphasizes that his show isn’t just one big inside joke for Broadway fans.
He explains, “It’s a comedy show…hard to describe. It’s also for people who aren’t Broadway fans. The point of the show is to open eyes about the music.”
Rudetsky employs what he calls “deconstructions,” analyses of recorded performances by stars like Barbra Streisand and Bea Arthur.
“It’s one of those things that became so obvious to me. My whole life I’ve had parties where people came over and I’d show them video clips or [play] audio clips and point out what they sing. I’ve always been doing it. It was in a stand up act I was doing and Rosie O’Donnell was in the audience and said I should do a whole show out of [the deconstructions]. Well, I got a whole show out of it,” he chuckles.
Streisand is Rudetsky’s favorite, noting “She’s a combination of brilliant singing and crazy choices. They’re brilliant affectations, you buy [the performance] and yet, at the same time you’re wondering what she’s thinking” as she massacres the enunciation of word after word. “Her chutzpah is mindboggling, but brilliant.”
In addition to his Broadway radio show and performance schedule, Rudetsky has his first book for young adults coming out—he and his partner are the parents of a 10-year-old boy—and he’ll be premiering a new talk show in two weeks on Sirius that isn’t about Broadway, just like Rosie, he points out. And then there’s the ‘70s jukebox musical he penned that parodies the disaster films of the decade that will soon be produced.
Rudetsky remains grounded, saying, “It’s not like I’ve been a lawyer AND a doctor. It’s all in the entertainment industry, God given talent that has been developed.”
“Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Show”
Thursday, April 21, 7:30 p.m.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale
Tickets $25-35 at BrowardCenter.org or by calling 954-462-0222