Krysta Rodriguez’s Spring Awakening audition story has connections to In the Heights
Good post-Tony rewards! I had a wonderful Tony evening by organizing a night before at Asylum NYC. This is the same place that I will do my new show Seth’s Breakdown on Broadway. Why, yes, you can buy tickets for it. Go here.
Anyway, Sunday was great after a headache travel weekend. It all started on Friday as I was traveling to Provincetown, Massachusetts from New York for that night’s concert with Krysta Rodriguez. This summer, I get there by flying to Hyannis on Cape Cod then Thom Vindiola (who works for my producer) takes me 1 hour drive to P-town. My flight was at 11:20 am which would allow me to arrive around 12:15 pm and then I would have a few hours to relax and have fun before my 4pm scale and 7pm show. I had never done a gig with Krysta before, so I wanted to make sure I went through all the songs that I didn’t know. Instead, my flight was delayed until noon, then 1pm, then 3pm. That meant I would get there at 4pm with just enough time to take a crazy tour of songs I didn’t know.
The delays were due to the fact that there was no first officer for the flight. He was on a delayed flight from Boston. Suddenly they announced that the flight was leaving now… at 5 pm. This meant arriving on Cape Cod at 6 a.m. and entering town after the show was to begin. I texted Mark Cortale, my producer, and he told me not to worry. He would take care of it. I got on the plane around 4pm and was delighted when they said we could leave earlier … until they told us some people had left the boarding area and they should be paged. I felt like Jennifer Saunders on Absolutely fabulous when they’re in India and her daughter passes out from the heat and Jennifer is in the air-conditioned car and yells “Leave her!” Leave her! “I couldn’t think we should wait for them, ugh. Finally, we were ready to go at 5:00 PM… until they told us that the people moving the ramps were not available to move the ramps. ultimately, we left and landed at 6:30 p.m. and I arrived in Provincetown at 7:45 p.m. 45 minutes after the show started. Luckily the hamlet is so Mom & Pop, Mark was able to reach out to all the ticket holders and tell them we were leaving late.
I arrived in the shorts and t-shirt I was traveling in and quickly drank a chocolate protein shake before taking the stage. Law before going out I took one last sip and it spread down the front of my shirt. The good news is, I was so glad the audience waited to see the show. The bad news is that I had to watch music in real time. It ended up being really fun, however, to have that feeling and that focus in the moment. I loved reading the songs cold because it felt like I was back when I was playing auditions. The craziest song I had to play was “Ammonia” by Joe Iconis, but I loved it! Check it out here.
Krysta has had so many amazing stories on showbiz. She spoke of when she was 21 and heard of Spring awakening who was about to get to Broadway. She really wanted to participate and continued to try to get an audition, but was repeatedly told that she was too old. She knew she looked quite young and just wanted a chance. Eventually she went to an open call. She waited and waited to come in and sing, even though she was called back for the off-Broadway tour of In the heights. Her agent called and told her to leave the call (damn) open and get her actual callback. She did it reluctantly and was devastated because she really wanted to be in Spring awakening. Well the next day she overheard the casting director who felt bad that Krysta had waited and was not seen and told her to come as a courtesy. But, she told Krysta in no uncertain terms: she certainly wouldn’t get a callback. Of course, Krysta didn’t just get an encore, she entered the original Broadway cast. And even though she couldn’t do In the heights off Broadway, she was in the original Broadway cast. Krysta was a swing Spring awakening (meaning she under-researched several roles) and laughed as she told me it was happening in the middle of the series.
If you remember, there were chairs on stage where spectators would sit. Sitting there too were the swings that would be in formal attire. If Krysta were to continue in the middle of the show, the stage manager would come out, pat her on the shoulder and Krysta would go backstage, put on her costume and join the show. She said people sitting near her would think it was weird because it looked like Spring awakening would simply randomly choose audience members to join the show. It’s a little what Mo Rocca thought as a child; he told me he memorized the Mandy Patinkin part of Evita because he believed that if Mandy was ever to miss, there had to be someone who could go on. And Mo decided he would be that person. But instead of being picked from the audience, I guess he thought they would somehow know his home phone number and call him? It wasn’t a fully fleshed out theory… but that didn’t stop him from memorizing every word.
Of course, Krysta and I talked about her playing Liza in the Halston limited series that was recently on Netflix. I played “Liza With AZ” for her and was so happy to hear her pronounce the pronunciation of “or Fay” by Liza during bridge. If you don’t know, Liza lists all the names she could be and instead of singing “… or Ginger or Fay”. She sings “… or Ginger more Fay. I’ve always been obsessed with the added M (and vibrato) and was so excited when Krysta did it without my request during our gig. Remember we hadn’t rehearsed, so I heard for the first time while we were performing it. I was beaming! Krysta said she had a friend who also liked this odd addition of an “M” and wanted her drag name to be Ginger Morfay. Watch Liza do it at 1:22.
WATCH: Watch Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli as “Liza With a Z” in Halston
Theater lovers take note: this Sunday is the incredible annual Broadway flea market. i will be at The stars in the house table at Shubert Alley with James and my SiriusXM co-host Christine Pedi as well as SITH the staff peeps and my good friends Paul Castree and Stephen Spadaro. We will sell (proceeds will go to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS) things like The stars in the house and Concert for America autographed posters, my book Seth’s Broadway Diary (a compilation of my Playbill columns), and much more. Then at the end of the afternoon, I’ll “hunt for talent” as they say and rush home to rehearse with Shayna Steele for my 8pm live concert. Shayna is my first guest in my Seth Concert Series. I just got his list of songs and so it is many of my favorites Bad, Hairdressing, Rental, The Wiz, and more. Since the concert is completely live, we’ll be reading the commentary in real time and taking your song suggestions, so who knows what else she’ll be singing. Get rates at TheSethConcertSeries.com. And if you haven’t heard why I’m obsessed with it, look at this!
This week we celebrated National Podcast Day so I wanted to say I’m good in season 3 of my podcast Seth Rudetsky back to school, on which I interview celebrities only from their high school years. I come interviewed Judd Apatow (to be edited and published soon) and laughed so much at his school teacher named Richard Less. This unfortunate name meant that everyone shortened Richard to Dick and therefore called him “D ** k Less”. It’s the kind of comedy I want all day long. You can hear all three seasons with my fabulous guests like Tina Fey, Vanessa Williams, Rosie Perez, Bowen Yang, Patrick Wilson, and more wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
Have a good fall and peace outside!