Five Friday Questions with Sarah Rudinoff

Sarah Rudinoff Alice Wheeler

Sarah Rudinoff is an actor, writer and singer who’s been performing in Seattle for two decades. She’s worked everywhere from the Rep to Re-Bar, from mainstage musicals to solo shows to Wes Hurley films to RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties with BenDeLaCreme. Her multimedia performance with Steven Miller in last year’s City Arts Genre Bender was a hilarious highlight of the evening.

Rudinoff is a versatile and compelling artist who communicates the joy of performance in whatever medium she chooses. Currently she’s playing Smitty in 5th Avenue’s How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and next month she’ll present a new solo work, NowNowNow, in collaboration with David Bennett at On The Boards. She joined me for this week’s installment of Five Friday Questions.

What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?

Mary Ewald’s Hamlet at New City keeps me wondering how she turned each corner of the text and made it clear, urgent and new. Loved that performance (and can’t wait for her Prospero/Caliban!)

Also Beyoncé and Jay Z at Safeco Field was over a year ago but I still think about it. I felt like I was watching Tina Turner in her prime—it was astounding how they could make a stadium show feel like an intimate party. Bey’s vocals live were killing me too.

What’s the best meal in Seattle?

As a local Hawaii gal, I never go wrong with Marination Ma Kai. Sitting outside in the summer with a cocktail—the Little Kayak with coconut rum and dark ginger beer—and a fish taco (or the sexy tofu) and looking at the Sound and the city. West Seattle 4-ever!

What music gets you pumped up? What do you listen to when you’re sad?

Hole’s Live Through This album or any Prince record depending on what kind of pumped up I am looking for.

When I am sad in a homesick way I go to Olomana’s Ku’u Home O Kahalu’u, when I want to cry angry tears, I go to Nick Cave’s song “People Ain’t No Good,” and for more tender sadness I go to Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon record.

What’s the most crucial element of any production?

The ideas in the show and the form of the storytelling. If a show doesn’t have anything new to say or a way to reach in and illuminate something for an audience then it I think it falls flat. Also, I always try and remember that the theatre is not a TED talk—we are not there to teach and inspire, although those are wonderful things. I think at its best the theatre is a banquet of ideas, shared live in as many forms as we can create.

What’s the most useful thing anyone’s ever taught you about working in theatre?

Theatre is an endurance test and part of that means figuring our how to stay focused and healthy enough to enjoy the ride, or to quote Elaine Stritch about working in the theatre: “It’s like the prostitute said, it’s not the work, it’s the stairs.”