NEW YORK (AP) — Seth Rudetsky has always had a dream of writing and performing in a show surrounded by friends.
Earlier this year, the multi-talented Rudetsky took that off his bucket list when his 1970s musical romp “Disaster!” sailed into Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre.
“I really wanted this big bunch of friends onstage. There weren’t any auditions, it was just ‘Hey, come do a show.'”
He opted for a very modern way of communication to fill the stage.
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“I just texted all my friends,” Rudetsky said. “I have worked with everyone for so many years in so many different capacities that it really was casting by text, which sounds crazy.”
Sitting next to him for the interview was co-star Roger Bart, who confirmed that is how he got his part in “Disaster!”
“Literally, I was offered by text,” said Bart, who stars as the villain, Tony Delvecchio.
“That’s really what happened, and many of my friends happen to be Tony Award-winners,” Rudetsky said.
Besides Bart, “Disaster,” also includes the talents of Faith Prince, Adam Pascal, Kerry Butler, Jennifer Simard and others.
Rudetsky, a former comedy writer on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” who can be heard on Sirius XM Radio, has played the piano in the orchestra pit for some of Broadway’s biggest shows, including “Ragtime” and “The Producers.”
He wrote “Disaster!” with Jack Plotnick as a spoof of 1970s disaster films like “Earthquake” and “The Poseidon Adventure.” Rudetsky plays the hero, Professor Ted Scheider, a noted disaster expert.
While acknowledging that it’s fun to star with your friends, Bart remains aware that the audience should remain part of the experience.
“There’s always a terrible feeling that happens when an audience will sense they are outside of a joke. That never happens with our show. And I think if you have a brain and have performed onstage before, you know that that’s a big no-no,” Bart said.
Rudetsky is having such a blast on Broadway that he’d like more of his friends to join the show before it comes to an end in July. “I love it. I have so many friends that are so talented I can’t wait.”
Well, he didn’t have to wait long to bring in a pinch hitter.
On Friday, Bart leaves the show for one week, and will be temporarily replaced by Tony-nominee Will Swenson.
And beyond the revolving stage door for this show, Rudetsky has even bigger ambitions.
“I’m already thinking the movie version too. I want the Faith Prince part to be played by Barbra Streisand. Wouldn’t that be amazing?” asked a beaming Rudetsky.
Then he added: “I’m keeping my role.”
Follow John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci