Shortly after the onset of the COVID pandemic, Broadway veterans Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley launched “Stars in the House,” a talk show on YouTube that has raised $1 million for The Actors Fund with the help of a star-studded guest list. Now, to celebrate the reopening of New York City, Rudetsky and Wesley, who are married, will host the first in-person edition of “Stars in the House” on June 30 at Asylum NYC, with appearances by Kristin Chenoweth, Chita Rivera, Beth Leavel, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Marc Shaiman and Nina West. Here, Rudetsky and Wesley tell Variety about some of their favorite moments from the show’s virtual run.
Dr. Jonathan LaPook
Seth Rudetsky: “From the beginning, the chief medical correspondent of CBS News has volunteered his time, giving us updates and soothing our nerves by reminding us that the pandemic would have ‘a beginning, a middle and an end.’”
Rudetsky: “Keala has made numerous appearances, but her singing ‘This Is Me’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ while wearing the same gown she wore when she sang it on the Oscars was magical.”
James Wesley: “We knew Election Day would be stressful, so we booked a 10-hour show! So many highlights: Seventy-five stars, including Josh Groban, Laurie Metcalf and Vanessa Williams, viewers from across the country showing us their ‘I Voted’ stickers, and even Itzhak Perlman dissing Seth’s violin playing!”
Wesley: “We loved chatting with the cast of ‘E.R.’ for hours. Because it really was for hours, we were so impressed by George Clooney, who joined us from London. It started at 8 p.m. ET, but for him it was from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. And he looked fantastic the whole time!”
Rudetsky: “Hearing about the racism she faced and overcame [TV stations in the South initially wouldn’t air ‘Sing Along With Mitch’ in the early 1960s when they learned Uggams was on the show] was incredible and inspiring for everyone who tuned in.”