As Seth Rudetsky’s concert series continues online, for just the second time a guest returns to join our host for another evening of music and chat. Jessie Mueller was one of the first guests to join Seth in these virtual concerts born out of necessity as the pandemic stopped live performance. Jessie and Seth are no stranger to performing together though, with Mueller a regular guest at Seth’s Provincetown events, and benefit gigs.
Their close history meant for an easy going and natural feeling concert, with a little more chat than usual. As Jessie has been part of the line-up before, Seth turned to the audience to get inspiration for questions, and the fans didn’t disappoint, prompting Mueller to talk about life backstage on Broadway, including how the production of Beautiful: The Carol King Musical got around the fact that she doesn’t play piano.
Beautiful was the show that projected Mueller to Broadway fame, and earned her a Tony Award too, so the title song was chosen to open the concert, and later Seth would surprise Mueller by launching in to ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’.
The year before Beautiful, Mueller starred as Cinderella in Into The Woods at Shakespeare in the Park, so Mueller was able to share an interesting story about meeting Stephen Sondheim, before going on to sing ‘On The Steps of The Palace.’
As ever, the concert covered the full range of the guest’s career, and particular highlights of this concert included ‘Adelaide’s Lament’ from Guys and Dolls and ‘Every Night at Seven’ from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
One of Mueller’s most critically acclaimed roles came in the smash hit Waitress. Mueller had workshopped the lead role of Jenna before joining the original Broadway cast, and going on to be nominated for a Tony Award. The musical was represented with an incredible version of ‘A Soft Place to Land’ notably without Seth’s accompaniment as Mueller instead played guitar, and of course that wonderful signature number, ‘She Used to Be Mine’.
Jessie Mueller also shared some personal stories from this unprecedented year, and it was the natural rapport with Seth that meant that both of them opened up a little more than you would normally get to see in a concert, but that’s just one of the reasons The Seth Concert Series has become such an important part of 2020.