Go Inside Seth Rudetsky’s Magical Tony Awards Night!

Let’s first talk Tony Awards. SO…I got hired by IBM to do a promo for their new thingy called “Watson.” I don’t necessarily understand what it is but it can basically do anything. I just saw an article showing how it can detect skin cancer. Seriously! I used it for something more shallow: showtunes! They asked me to do something featuring a song from each Tony-nominated musical and I asked if I could input them all into Watson and then have Watson combine all four into one song. I would then add a melody and (idiotic) lyrics. Anyhoo, they went along with it and I wound up having a great time! They totally got my sense of humor and even kept in one of the Bea Arthur’s glares I gave to the IBM researcher. WATCH!

Anyhoo, because I did the IBM thing (which was in partnership with the Broadway League), I got two delicious tickets to the Tony Awards. The only times I’ve gone to the Tony Awards was when I wrote the opening numbers in 1998 and 2000. What were they, you ask? Well; In 2000, Rosie wanted to highlight Broadway people who had gone on to TV fame. Jesus Christ Superstar had just come back to Broadway so I thought we’d do the title song and The Broadway Inspirational Voices agreed to back it up. We got Broadway-turned-TV-stars Megan Mullally (Will And Grace), Jesse L. Martin (Law And Order), and Jane Krakowski (Ally McBeal) to perform their signature Broadway songs. Click here to watch.

My first Tony opening number was in 1998. Rosie wanted to do a song featuring three “divas” and I suggested Patti LuPone, Jennifer Holliday, and Betty Buckley. Jerry Mitchell choreographed it, John McDaniel conducted, and it was so much fun! Click here to watch.

James Wesley, Jennifer Simard, and Seth Rudetsky at the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall
James Wesley, Jennifer Simard, and Seth Rudetsky at the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall Courtesy Seth Rudetsky

Anyhoo, I was very excited to go back and see it from the audience. On the way into Radio City, James and I were thrilled to run into Jennifer Simard. Jennifer is currently playing Ernestina Money (hilariously) in Hello, Dolly! and last year she was nominated for playing Sister Mary Downy (with the gambling addiction) in my show Disaster!. It was so perfect to walk into the Tonys with her! Then, we all saw Don Pippin in line. Don was the last music director to win a Tony Award (for Oliver!) before that category was dropped, and he’s conducted/arranged the vocals for such amazing shows as La Cage Aux Folles, Chorus Line, and Mame and he wrote the vocal arrangements for Hello, Dolly! He recreated them again for this current version and got to attend the Tony Awards because Scott Rudin bought tickets for everyone involved with the show. Don is 90 (!) and he said he’s never had a producer buy him a ticket for the Tony Awards!!

More Details @ Playbill

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