Orfeh and Andy Karl Reminisce Over Their Saturday Night Fever Days | Playbill

Seth Rudetsky Orfeh and Andy Karl Reminisce Over Their Saturday Night Fever Days This week, Seth finds his book on the “objectionable” list and Broadway Breakdown prepares for its final performances.
Orfeh, Seth Rudetsky, and Andy Karl
Orfeh, Seth Rudetsky, and Andy Karl Arin Sang-urai

It’s my final weekend of Seth’s Broadway Breakdown Off-Broadway. I’m doing a Saturday and Sunday matinée at 4 PM and then I go upstate for ye olde holidays. You can get tix at AsylumNYC.com and here’s a little clip I made featuring some of the belters featured in my show!

In other news, I’ve “made it”... in a sense. A few weeks ago, I got a notification from someone on Twitter about what’s happening in Texas. Now, this was something I knew about but didn’t know it involved me. If you haven’t heard, Matt Krause, a Texas State Representative, has compiled a list of 850 books and sent it to school districts across the Lone Star state. He’s asked them to review these books because of what he deems “objectionable content.” The list includes How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, the graphic novel of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Cider House Rules by John Irving and My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan, by me.

Yes, my very first young adult novel is considered objectionable by a politician in Texas. In case you’re wondering why, it’s because the 16-year-old protagonist is gay. That’s it. The book is so innocent. It is, at worst, PG-13 in terms of content. It’s about Justin Goldblatt, who is not well-liked at his high school, basically because everyone thinks he’s gay… not that he’s got any experience in that arena. At the beginning of his sophomore year, he decides that he’s going to dream big and not only become popular but also date Chuck, the popular quarterback of the football team. Chuck, however, is dating the popular girl Becky. So, Justin decides the best way to get to Chuck is to date his dream boyfriend’s girlfriend, Becky. There are many hijinx and what I hope are hilarious situations, but the final message is about being who you are and forging your own path. It is not objectionable on any level. I wish there had been a book like this when I was in high school, struggling with my own sexuality and my rampant unpopularity.

Megan Hilty
Megan Hilty Courtesy of Seth Rudetsky

Anyhoo, if you want to check out the book (and its sequel The Rise And Fall Of A Theater Geek), you can get it wherever books are sold. And feel free to buy an extra one and send it to Representative Krause. The audio book is out as well on Audible.com. I play the role of Justin, Will Swenson plays the quarterback, Megan Hilty plays Becky, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays my best friend, Spencer. There are other amazing/hilarious people on the Audible version like Ana Gasteyer, Marc Kudisch, Andréa Burns, and the school bully is played by Josh Gad. We recorded it in 2012 and it was so fun!

I had a bout of drama when The Seth Concert Series had its first emergency replacement performer. These concerts are live every Sunday night at 8 PM ET and I always check in with the artists in the morning. Well, around 11 AM last Sunday morning, I was texting with Jessica Vosk. She had been feeling ill since Saturday (not Covid, thankfully!) and felt there was no way she could do the concert that night. The good news is, I had an opening for January 2nd and moved Jessica’s concert to then. P.S. watch our rehearsal of Evita’s “Rainbow High.” So amazing! Then get tix for her at TheSethConcertSeries.com.

Anyhoo, what the hell was I supposed to do about that night’s concert? I immediately texted Orfeh and Andy Karl asking them to fill in and they said yes. We’ve all known each other ever since doing Saturday Night Fever together back in 2000. Orfeh originated the role of Annette, Andy Karl replaced Sean Palmer (understudying the role of Tony Manero) and I was the sub piano player. The concert went so fantastically and afterwards, we were all still singing the song from Saturday Night Fever that made me obsessed with Orfeh’s voice. James came downstairs and filmed us. Watch here.

I was just talking about Saturday Night Fever recently with my good friend Paul Castree who played Bobby C. We remembered one night off during the run when we went to see Betty Buckley’s act. She was, of course, fantastic. After the show, we went to the hotel room she was staying in and hung out. At one point, Paul asked Betty how she was able to cry while she was singing. I’m sure you know that when you cry, your breathing becomes stifled yet you need to breathe evenly in order to sing. Well, Betty went into an amazing lesson with Paul, talking about how she would sing “Memory” during Cats.

At one point, she got down on all fours and began crawling across the floor to demonstrate. Paul loved it. He took it all in and was excited to do his next performance and apply her tips. Cut to: He’s on stage, doing his big dramatic Act Two song, “Tragedy.” He began thinking about what Betty said, trying to remember her specific technique and suddenly thought, “what are the lyrics?” Yep. He was so focused on figuring out the crying/singing combo that he completely forgot what he was singing. The good news is, he finally came back in on the right lyrics but, when he walked offstage, he was mortified. Until, he ran into a sound person. Why? Because the sound person apologized profusely for Paul’s mic going out. That’s right, the silence coming from Paul was blamed on a faulty mic, not Paul’s split focus between his role and trying to remember a new singing technique. So, of course Paul admitted that it wasn’t a mic issue, it was because he forgot the lyrics. Just kidding. Paul didn’t ‘fess up anything and instead told the sound person, “That’s ok. I understand…” while smiling magnanimously. #NowItCanBeTold P.S. here he is sounding amazing on the song!

Attention: My final concert of 2021 is this Sunday night at 8 PM with Andrew Barth Feldman from Dear Evan Hansen. I’m taking off Christmas week and then I’m back with Jessica Vosk on January 2, 2022. Here’s Andrew when he played Evan sounding fabulous. Get thee to TheSethConcertSeries.com then peace out!

 
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