This review was originally written for The Public Review.
The enthusiastic applause at the beginning of the show gives away Seth Rudetsky’s cult status as a multi-talented Broadway actor, writer and musician. Rudetsky’s ability is to analyse, or in his word, deconstruct performances in a hilarious, straight to the point style, all imparted with a good understanding of the fundamentals of music and performance. The range of material consists mainly of recordings of various Broadway productions, highlighting not only good performances but also less successful ones. Rudetsky sets it up, plays the clip a couple of times and mimes it to emphasize his points.
There are also deconstructions of Cher and Barbra Streisand’s recordings perhaps indicating the demographics of the audience. The different clips are linked by anecdotal jokes such as when comment was made about his singing sounding too Broadway, his comeback was “do you mean good?” Also, Rudetsky not only gives it to others, but he also deconstructs his own recordings and analyses himself as honestly as he would any other performance.
The show is structured around different musical technicalities such as chest and head voices, riffing, “amnesia vibrato”, etc. In some ways, this is a highly entertaining lecture of Broadway music appreciation. However, having different topics for the sake of variety seems forced especially when one or two sections have only a single example. The audience will be just as happy without the structure currently in the show. Nonetheless, Rudetsky is obviously a talented musician and his enthusiasm in his dissection is infectious. It may sound a little technical and unkind when dissecting the poor performances and but it is performed with great affection, lightness and pace, with a definitive love of musical theatre and singing. As
Rudetsky himself says, once you have seen the show, you will be doing it for the rest of your life. We shall see.