Seth Rudetsky ("from SiriusXM radio," as he likes to say under his breath), shared a cool story with his Curtain Up! audience Friday night, about an hour into his riotous 75-minute show. This was, in brief, his tale:
Twenty-three years ago, when he was just out of college and living in a crummy apartment in New York City, he got a call for a theater job, and he was thrilled.
The next day, for reasons unknown, he got another call, and was fired. (Devastation.) Later, the theater itself closed.
And now, 23 years later, the theater had just reopened and he was performing a sold-out, one-man show on its stage.
Yes, it was Studio Arena that broke his heart, and 710 Main that reclaimed it, with a vengeance.
"Seth's Big Fat Broadway Show," also known as "Seth Deconstructs Broadway," was a perfect fit for the hundreds of people who spent the start of Buffalo's 2012-13 theater season in the newly revived space.
Though dressed in jeans and sportcoat instead of proper evening attire, Rudetsky was every bit the comic diva, bringing with him the voices and challenges (some met, some not really) of many of Broadway's greatest belters, and explaining exactly how it is done.
And, unfortunately for the singers but hysterically for the audience, how it isn't.
The show is built as a course in Broadway vocal deconstruction - something that Rudetsky, a pianist, performer and coach, says he has been doing since before he was 3, and was here to teach.
Consider it a crash course. Seth is one of those high-energy guys who has so much to say he says everything a half-pitch higher and twice as fast as most normal conversation.
But for the theater-savvy audience, it was a laugh-filled blast trying to keep up, and Buffalo acquitted itself very well. Tossing out quick musical theater questions, Seth always found an answer, no matter how obscure the trivia. (Kudos especially to the gentleman who was right there with the "Pajama Game" 1970s revival answers ).
And so the show went, starting with Babs, settling for a well deserved time on Patti LuPone and Betty Buckley, and covering the nuance of the vibrato, the riff and the head voice (versus chest voice).
Seth Rudetsky knows about singing. He also knows about comedy, about how much to criticize and how much would be too much.
And now, he knows what it is like to appear on stage in Buffalo, at a place that broke his heart. I would guess he'd say it went pretty well.