This past weekend I had the chance to sit in on rehearsals for the fabulous Rachelle Rak’s new solo show, I’m In, and afterward we had a quick chat. We dished about the show, her life in theater and, of course, that time she flashed Aaron Tveit.
The Mick: How are rehearsals going?
Rachelle: Good. I did a version of the show a year ago. Now we’ve put the show together with the story. I’m not gonna bore them to death. It’s quick, [snaps] it’s fast, [snaps]. Hopefully it’s funny. You never know, but…
M: It’s funny! I laughed.
R: Oh, good. A little chuckle is good.
M: What’s the show about?
R: For me, being “in” means being full out. It’s being absolutely full out. People have made fun of me my whole life. They’re like, ‘Sas, pull it back a little bit, you’re making us look bad. Reel it in.’ And I said, ‘But I only have one level.’ And that’s what it is.
I’m trying to make it an event, and something fun. And it’s inspiring people to do their own thing. To not wait. For me, it’s about not waiting to be picked anymore. You can pick yourself.
M: How did the show come about?
R: I’ve done Broadway Bares a lot, and I met a young man who came up to me after and said ‘I’m in love with you.’ And he said he would like to do my performance reel, or work with me. And I thought, ‘Okay, sure.’ And he followed through, and he made it happen. Daniel [Robinson], since I met him, has done everything that he said he would do.
So last year, I asked some of my friends to dance, and Stephen [Jamail] did the music. This time, I have a full, 5-piece band, so it’s all live. I did a reading of Flashdance this past week. We had a live band there, and I was like, ‘This is what my show’s going to feel like. Like, this is it.’
M: Is there a particular number in the show that you’re really excited about?
R: I call it “The Royal Flush” and it’s a tribute to the women in my life. There’s a particular section about my mother. And then it goes to Liza, then Ann Margaret, and then Ann Reinking and then I go to Tina Turner.
Somebody once told me, ‘You’re like Ann Margaret with a Tina Turner chaser.’ And I was like ‘That is the greatest compliment, ever.’
M: Tell us some theater stories. This is our favorite question: Can you remember any crazy onstage mishaps that you’ve ever had?
R: I’ll tell you a story. So, I was in a musical called The Look of Love and we were tech-ing a number called “What’s New Pussycat?” It was kind of Mien-Her-ish — chairs, Ann Reinking style. And Ann wants it full out. We’re tired. It’s late. It’s tech, but full out. We come up in an elevator lift and we put the chairs forward and start the dance, but the elevator lift brings the gentlemen back down. Well, I’m full-out and I step back and I fall 12 feet into the elevator lift. Something caught the back of my legs and turned me on my side, and I landed on my face and I was knocked out. Out cold. I woke up holding my face and I’m in a corset, with bleeding legs, scared to death, crying. I was kind of out of it, and I heard Ann Reinking on the God mic and I swear to God, this is what I heard: ‘I fell once!’ That was what I heard. She was talking about herself. And all I could think was ‘I’m alive. Because she is on the God mic talking about herself.’
M: What was your favorite role that you’ve gotten to play?
R: Oh, boy. I would say, my favorite role was Cheryl Ann in Catch Me If You Can. Small but mighty.
I had that one moment with, with Aaron [Tveit] where I got to do a little tease, and nobody else could see. And every night, I had a different set of pasties, or something new, or writing. That young man had a quite a show every night.
One night, I had the electric department make me pasties that light up, because it was the 4th of July. So we’re ready, and I put my fur coat on, and I look in the mirror, and lights are showing right through the fur coat. Now, this is all a quick change. So, I go, ‘Get it off! Get it off! They’ll kill me if they see these two beamers coming out during the scene.’
So I rip that off and I have my panties on and I close my fur and I realize, I’m topless. And there’s no going back. That’s it. But by now, everyone now knows that I was planning the lights trick, so they’re all in the wings. So, I gave a nipple [mimes pulling back one side of the fur coat] and then another nipple [mimes pulling open the other side of the coat]. And all of the crew is there, and everyone’s in the wings, and we laughed. I mean, Aaron just said “I love my job.” That’s all he said. But that was an accident. I didn’t actually intend to get naked.
I’m In plays at Le Poisson Rouge on January 22nd at 7pm and January 23rd at 10:30pm.