NEW YORK (AP) — Seth Rudetsky has opened his personal diary for the world to see — and, typically, out has tumbled tons of Broadway stories.
Dress Circle Publishing has compiled Rudetsky's fascinating and revealing weekly columns for Playbill, with the first volume focusing on the 2007-08 season to be released Oct. 22.
Inside are stories like the time he helped "Spring Awakenings" stars Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele illegally sleep over in the Broadway theater before their final performance, the time he saw the last performance of "Rent" on Broadway and his experience watching "Xanadu" in previews.
"Everyone was saying, 'This show is going to bomb!' I remember sitting there being like, 'I'm going to hate it,'" recalls Rudetsky, a radio show host, pianist, author and playwright. "And then I went, 'Wait. Why is it I'm loving this?' I wound up seeing it like four times."
There are also candid interviews with Betty Buckley and Chita Rivera, and stories about how he ended up creating a medley of music for Rosie Perez in "The Ritz" and watched in horror as an unconscious Jeff Bowen was dragged offstage.
Rudetsky thinks he knows why he has the ability to get people to reveal things they normally never do.
"I think it's because I'm also in show business so they kind of think that they're talking to a friend backstage," he said. "Being an insider allows me to be able to stalk them without getting an order of protection."
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 had a cameo on NBC's "Smash" and was a judge on MTV's reality show casting of "Legally Blonde: The Musical." He has written two novels, "Broadway Nights" and "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan."
He has written the "Onstage & Backstage" column every week starting in 2007. The new book is the first of what should be a regular release each year. Rudetsky says he's never missed a week.
"Every week, something happens," he explains.