Rudetsky skewers hit shows, songs and stars with love 

click to enlarge Seth Rudetsky
  • COURTESY PHOTO
  • Broadway expert Seth Rudetsky brings his show to San Francisco this week.
Don’t call Seth Rudetsky a show queen. The music director, radio host, video maker, comedy writer, stand-up performer and Broadway deconstructeur-par-excellence will answer to a lot of names during his two nights at Feinstein’s at the Nikko this week, but not that.

“I find it anti-gay,” he says flatly. “It’s like the implication is, if you like Broadway, you’re gay. No. Actually Broadway is an American art form, and art is for everybody. It used to be, in the ’50s, everybody loved Broadway. It was on Ed Sullivan. Now it’s like, ‘It’s for gay people.’ No it’s not. It’s for everybody.”

That settled, Rudetsky readily admits he is living every ummm, musical theater fan boy’s dream life. When he refers to “my Broadway pals,” he really means friends like Audra McDonald, for whom he served as accompanist at her senior recital at Juilliard.

“I admit it,” he laughs. “I mean seriously, it’s actually like what I would have wanted to do as a kid. I sort of like just forced it to happen.”

“It” includes playing in the pit for over a dozen major Broadway musicals, putting together fundraiser concerts with megawatt stars like McDonald, Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson, writing for Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show, and bringing “Disaster” — his musical paean to those star-studded Armageddon flicks of the 1970s and ’80s — from Off-Broadway to a Great White Way production in 2015.

He found a kindred spirit in his time with O’Donnell, who was often referred to as Broadway’s biggest cheerleader. “It’s being this kind of insider, yet a super fan. I’ve obviously worked inside Broadway very

closely and I have the training and sort of the chops. Then, on top of that, I’m also sort of crazy psycho superfan stalker. I combine them both in the show.”

The show, “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway,” is the distillation of these twin psyches of expert musician and obsessed observer, filtered through an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway minutiae. It’s the live version of his endlessly fascinating video series at sethtv.com that picks apart the fabulousness and the foibles of iconic Broadway stars, scores and performances.

Clearly, the foibles are the most fun. “I have a whole section in my show called ‘What Were You Thinking?’ where I play people that I think are unbelievably talented and they made a horrific mistake. Then I just do a devastating deconstruction of that misstep.”

The stars love it. Tony winner Patti LuPone is a fan and works regularly with Rudetsky.

“I always come from a place of positivity, even when I’m being dishy. I’ll be really, even brutally honest, but there’s still a lot of love in there,” he says.

IF YOU GO

Seth Rudetsky

Where: Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 220 Mason St., S.F.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Tickets: $35 to $50

Contact: (866) 663-1063, www.ticketweb.com

About The Author

Robert Sokol

Robert Sokol

Bio:
Robert Sokol is the editor at BAYSTAGES, the creative director at VIA MEDIA, and a lifelong arts supporter. Diva wrangler, cinefiler, and occasional saloon singer, he has been touching showbiz all his life. (So far no restraining orders have been issued!)... more
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