The Seth Rudetsky Broadway Concert Series presented by Mark Cortale returns to The Parker in this month. The series, co-presented by the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, delivers three intimate evenings of incredible music and hilarious conversations hosted and music directed by Sirius XM Radio star Seth Rudetsky, whom the New York Times dubbed “The Mayor of Broadway.” The series features three Tony Award winners and critically-acclaimed powerhouse talents: Stephanie J. Block (The Cher Show) on January 7; Santino Fontana (Tootsie) on February 5; and Laura Benanti (Gypsy) on March 26.
It was a pleasure to sit down with the talented Stephanie J. Block for this exclusive Hotspots interview right before her concert this Friday, January 7.
Were you always a performer even as a child, or when did it begin?
I was always a performer. My parents tell me I started singing commercials in the house around 3. I would go to parties, and I would put my piggy bank in the middle of the floor before I would start to perform.
What was your first professional role?
My first paid role was a voiceover when I was 13 for Crispy Crunch cereal and then at 15, I was one of the 3 little pigs at Disney Land.
When did you know entertaining would be your career?
I knew when I was 11, because my discipline was such that I wanted nothing else. My priority was always the arts.
How did you get cast in the Cher show?
I got cast despite myself. I turned it down many times, and then Jason Moore, the director, took me to dinner and convinced me to take the role.
How was it to meet Cher?
It was jaw dropping, it really was. She is a complete star…a celestial force. She is small in stature but when she walks into a room everyone knows something has happened. There is a massive molecular and energy shift. She is authentically herself, which is beautiful and completely disarming at the same time!
How exciting was it to win the Tony?
It was thrilling. The beautiful part of it was that I have been such a journeyman in this industry. This was my 8th Broadway show and 11th overall. I never thought this was the role I would win the Tony for, but I felt completely at home because I looked up and saw my community of 18 years.
Other than the Cher role, what was your favorite role to play?
Because I put in so much into every role it makes it so difficult to choose. But there was something so indelible in playing Trina in Falsetto. We were telling a story that was beautiful and important. That moment in time was particularly special.
What is your fantasy role?
There are many, but the two that are at the forefront are: Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, and Aurora in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Describe yourself in three words?
Hardworking, silly and vulnerable.
What do you do for fun?
I have a kid, so there is not a whole lot of fun time. But I love to read, travel and shop online. I also cherish spending time with my husband of 14 years. I actually married my Fierro.
How did you meet Seth?
He is such a beautiful crazy lunatic, and he is part of the institution. I remember him complimenting my high note. I trust him as he is a kind human being and I just go along for the ride.
What did you do during the quarantine part of the Pandemic?
We tried to stay “in control” during this very strange and difficult time. We made some very big decisions as a family. We sold our home and moved to NOCAL (albeit temporary) so that we could be closer to my side of the family and so Vivienne could grow, learn & play with cousins close to her age and attend an all-outdoor kindergarten. We worked so hard to create a safe and stable world for our daughter and in doing that, huge sacrifices were made. We are just trying to lead with love and make one decision at a time. But these last couple years has tested our wills… personally & professionally.
What should our readers expect from your performance at the Seth Rudetsky Broadway Concert Series?
The ABSOLUTE JOY (and sometimes musical panic) of a Seth Rudetsky concert is to expect the unexpected. Even I can be surprised as Seth gets inspired by a tid-bit in the telling of a story and then rushes to the piano to play an unrehearsed song that I haven’t sung in years. It’s unlike any other concert series out there. The audience gets to witness spontaneous moments they wouldn’t see normally when attending a typical concert.
Now that being said, my favorite 11 o’clock numbers will be a part of the set… “Breaking Down,” “Defying Gravity,” “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “Writing On The Wall”… and more!
Tickets to each concert are $37-$67 with $123 VIP tickets. The VIP ticket includes a premium seat and post show experience with the artists. This experience may be modified to meet CDC recommendations on show date. A three-show subscription is available and offers a 20% savings and the same seating for each event. Info at Parkerplayhouse.com. For tickets and information, please visit ParkerPlayhouse.com and Ticketmaster.com; by phone at 954.462.0222; in person at The Parker box office at 707 N.E. Eighth Street in Fort Lauderdale.