Let’s turn the tables and deconstruct Broadway maven Seth Rudetsky. Rudetsky, who appears Thursday through Saturday in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, has his own YouTube channel in which he “deconstructs” famous singers and shows, such as Patti LuPone and Dreamgirls. “I completely grew up beyond, beyond obsessed with Barbra Streisand,” Rudetsky says in one video.
“But now I have a sort of love-her-slash-she-makes-me-sick relationship with her.”
A onetime writer for Rosie O’Donnell’s TV talk show, Rudetsky says his act is so popular, Broadway performers love being publicly dissected. “Oh my God, I’ve arrived because I’m being deconstructed,” Rudetsky jokes. “Lauren Kennedy, who just starred in Spamalot, said she ‘always dreamed about being deconstructed by you.’ ’’ Rudetsky, a classically trained pianist who grew up in Long Island listening to show tunes, is perhaps best known as host of Sirius/XM satellite radio’s Seth’s Big Fat Broadway program, also the title of his touring show. “In my show I have a tape of me singing The Most Happy Fella,” Rudetsky says.
He got started early. On the recording, his mother is heard saying to young Seth, “You’re birthday’s coming up. You’re going to be 3 soon.” Rudetsky says he remembers as a child “begging my parents to get me the vocal selections to Chicago.” Many young people today don’t share Rudetsky’s passion. “The more music that’s available, the less kids know,” he declares. “They say, ‘I know every version of Wicked.’ There are other shows besides Wicked! Listen to Pippin! It’s by the same composer (Stephen Schwartz) as Wicked. It’s shocking to me.”
And don’t get Rudetsky started about today’s Broadway revivals. “They bring back, usually, half the orchestra. You’re bringing back a show and charging enormous prices, and it’s not as good as the original! Thank God for South Pacific, which they brought back with a 30-piece orchestra,” he says.
“You grow up listening to the record and you know how beautiful it sounds.” Another trend he hates: putting nonsingers in musicals. “There’s this myth that if someone can’t sing, they are a great actor,” says Rudetsky, who lives in Manhattan with his partner and their 10-year-old daughter. “Elaine Stritch — you’re not going to cast her in Evita.”