Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Theatre Review: "Seth Rudetsky's Deconstructing Broadway"

If there is anything better than seeing a Broadway musical or listening to the original cast album over and over again, it is doing these things in the company of a funny, smart, and snarky friend who will make fun of the show with you. This perfectly describes spending an evening watching Seth Rudetsky's Deconstructing Broadway. The event, which is a cross between a stand-up routine and a master class on the finer points of singing, features Mr. Rudetsky deconstructing musical performances while teaching the audience how to do the same.

As a devoted viewer of Rudetsky's vlog, I thought I knew how the 90 minute program would progress. While he does deconstruct many a musical cue and clip, he also does a surprising amount of teaching. From differentiating between head voice (EVIL) and chest voice to providing definitions and examples for terms like vibrato and riffing. These moments of education are so skillfully woven into the performance that the evening is pretty much wall to wall entertainment, with a few precious moments to help you catch your breath. However, despite Rudetsky's rapier wit, the evening isn't all about making fun of singers. Instead, he offers examples of great singing and contrasts it with examples of singing that is insane (and not in a good way).

The only tiny downside is that, as someone who has watched most of Rudetsky's deconstructing videos, I was familiar with most of the clips and cues he included. However, this is a minuscule nitpick, and in some ways, this is actually quite positive because I can now go back, review the clips, and have a better idea of what he was talking about in them. If you get a chance to watch him live, I highly recommend him.

Need more proof? Check out this video of his deconstruction of Barbra Streisand and Bea Arthur: