Anyone who is a serious Broadway fan or a fan of Sirius XM’s “On Broadway” knows the name Seth Rudetsky. In addition to being nominated for three Emmy Awards for his comedy writing, Rudetsky has also written for the Grammy and Tony Award shows and has penned the opening numbers for multiple events for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He co-wrote and co-starred in the musical-comedy spoof “Disaster!” on Broadway and in London’s West End. When not hosting “Seth Speaks” and “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” on Sirius XM, he takes showtunes fans on his popular Broadway cruises and performs his one-man show Rhapsody in Seth at venues around the world.
On Jan. 26, this dramatic force of nature will be joined by another stage legend. Rudetsky will man the piano for two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole at the Huntington Theatre’s Calderwood Pavilion in Boston’s South End (www.huntingtontheatre.org) in a show that will combine blockbuster showtunes with backstage stories.
When asked what got his Broadway lights shining, Rudetsky recalls his parents always playing Broadway albums in his North Woodmere, N.Y. home.
Among his early favorites was Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella,” which included the popular hits “Standing on the Corner,” “Abbondanza,” and “Big D.”
“I actually found a recording of myself singing the opening song when I was a little less than three years old,” said Rudetsky. In second grade, Rudetsky used vacation funds to go to Broadway, where he reveled in a slew of shows, including a short-lived revival of “The Pajama Game,” a show that convinced him he needed to be on Broadway.
Rudetsky sees his youthful yearnings for great music as completely in keeping with his Jewish upbringing.
“I specifically [loved] Anim Z’miros,” he recalls. “Such a great melody!”
Rudetsky agrees with the idea that Jews have played an integral role in shaping both Broadway and his own career. His first role was at a Hillel summer camp, where he played the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz.”
“Going to Jewish summer camp determined my theatrical career,” Rudetsky reasons, recalling a long period when the only Hebrew he remembers remembering was the song title “Machar.”
For the Huntington show, Rudestky serves both as music director and also interlocutor, dropping provocative questions amongst his partners’ favorite numbers (including many from shows they had wished they had appeared in!)
“I love hearing Broadway singers perform in concert,” Rudetsky explains, “but I hate hearing scripted patter…. So, I do a style where the Broadway star sings a ton of music, but instead of pre-planned chitter chatter between songs, I interview them.”