In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and theatres across the world closing their curtains indefinitely, SiriusXM host Seth Rudetsky and his husband, producer James Wesley have created Stars in the House, a daily live streamed series to support The Actors Fund and its services.
With new shows airing daily at 2 PM ET and 8 PM ET, Stars in the House is a combination of music, community, and education (from CBS Chief Medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook) located on the Actors Fund YouTube Channel. With musical performances by stars remotely from their home and conversations with Seth and James between each tune, viewers can also donate to the charity and interact with the guests in real time. Stars in the House raised over $50,000 in the first four days of airing. Guests include Idina Menzel, Matt Bomer, Sara Bareilles, Grant Gustin, Jason Alexander, Kristen Chenoweth as well as couples confined together like Audra McDonald and Will Swenson, Frozen composers Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, writers Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond, and more to be announced. Stars in the House plans to stream daily until Broadway re-opens.
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services.
Seth moved to New York in 1988 and started volunteering for God’s Love We Deliver, which brings meals to people with AIDS all across the city. He is decidedly not skilled at cooking and soon decided his talents could be better used elsewhere. At a holiday party in 1992, he connected with Hearts and Voices, an organization that brings live weekly performances to hospitalized people with AIDS. He started volunteering for them and has been a mainstay at many hospitals since 1992: Rivington House, Roosevelt Island Hospital, the prison ward at St. Clare’s Hospital and since 2005, he’s been playing the piano/booking singers at the Cardinal Cooke AIDS ward. Broadway folks love volunteering to sing and Seth’s patients have been serenaded by the likes of Audra MacDonald, Tituss Burgess and Betty Buckley! In 1998, Seth was asked to write the opening number for The Easter Bonnet Competition, which is the big spring fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He did that for many years and then began hosting the Gypsy Of The Year Competition, which is the BC/EFA fall fundraiser (and resulted in him sharing a dressing room with Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman!).
In 2001, he produced and conducted DREAMGIRLS starring Heather Headley, Audra McDonald and Lillias White, the first fall concert for the Actors Fund of America, which was recorded on Nonesuch records and raised almost $1 million for the Fund. He then did Funny Girl with Idina Menzel and Jane Krakowski, Chess with Adam Pascal and Josh Groban, Hair with Jennifer Hudson (Ghostlight Records, Grammy nomination), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas with Terrence Mann and Jennifer Hudson and On The Twentieth Century with Marin Mazzie and Kathleen Turner. He also starred opposite Sutton Foster in The Actors Fund production of They’re Playing Our Song and hosted and played piano for an array of divas for their 2007 Nothing Like A Dame: Betty Buckley, Stephanie J. Block, Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara and Bebe Neuwirth.
He is the afternoon Broadway host on SiriusXM Radio and recently co-wrote and co-starred in Disaster! on Broadway, which was co-produced by his husband, James. He was also a co-producer on the Broadway for Orlando recording of “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and Voices for the Voiceless, he and his husband’s annual foster care event on Broadway.
As a writer, he was nominated for three Emmy awards for comedy writing on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and is the author of “My Awesome Awful Popularity Plan” and “The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek” (published by Random House), a young adult series about a teenaged gay kid named Justin Goldblatt, who’s obsessed with theater and sports a Jewfro.
In response to concerns that marginalized people would suffer after 2016's presidential election, along with his husband James, Seth conceived and hosted a concert series called Concert for America. The first concert was held at The Town Hall in New York, New York January 20, 2017.
Concert For America features brilliant, inspiring performances by films stars like Rosie Perez, TV stars like Piper Perabo, comedians like Caroline Rhea, recording artists like Melissa Manchester, Broadway stars like Brian Stokes Mitchell and legendary icons like Chita Rivera and Barry Manilow.
In 2015, after devastating cuts were imposed on the only two foster care organizations working with older children and youth in New York City, James conceived and co-produced Voices for the Voiceless on Broadway starring Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Megan Hilty, Antwone Fisher, Charlene Tilton, Caroline Rhea, Darren Criss, Alec Mapa, Kate Shindle, and Eden Espinosa. It shined a spotlight on foster care in a unique and entertaining way, combining celebrity, music, and everyday people sharing their stories. The concert raised $500,000 for You Gotta Believe! and the Council on Adoptable Children.
The following year, the concert returned to Broadway, starring Chita Rivera, Rosie Perez, Stephanie Mills, Gloria Gaynor, Liz Callaway, and Sherri Saum, among many others.
In response to concerns that marginalized people would suffer after 2016's presidential election, James produced and hosted a concert series called Concert for America. The first concert was held at The Town Hall in New York, New York January 20, 2017. Over the course of the series, entertainment’s biggest stars generously lent their voices to raise money for national organizations dedicated to protecting civil rights, women’s health and environmental protection.
As a writer, he wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway play, Unbroken Circle, starring Eve Plumb and Tony nominees Anika Larsen and Jennifer Simard. He also wrote Art and Science, a comedy-drama dealing with the generational differences between two gay men. It starred Tony nominees Tony Sheldon and John Tartaglia.
James was also proud to be one of the lead producers on Broadway of his husband’s musical, Disaster!
James and Seth are the proud recipients of the National Leadership Award from the LGBTQ Task Force for their work on Broadway for Orlando’s What the World Needs Now is Love.