Lively Rita: Comic Rita Rudner Heading to Millville's Levoy Theatre July 14

Last Edited: Jul 10, 2018 12:00 PM
Rita Rudner Rita Rudner

Rita Rudner chats about her new projects ahead of her standup show at the Levoy July 14.

MILLVILLE, NJ — Rita Rudner is working on several projects. Along with performing her comedy act around the country—as she’ll be doing Saturday, July 14, at the Levoy Theatre in Millville—the veteran comic is doing a lot of writing.

The author of five books, including a pair of novels, Rudner is currently tackling her autobiography, a mammoth process she says she hopes to be done with in the next couple years.

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“It’s going slowly,” Rudner tells SNJ Today. “I write one sentence and right after that, I have to try to think of another sentence.”

She says it was her husband, producer Martin Bergman, that got her into writing.

“Writing books and movies was my husband’s idea,” says Rudner. “I blame him.”

But the autobiography isn’t the only project the Miami-born actress is working on. After several decades, Rudner, 63, a former Broadway singer and dancer, is working on a new musical.

“It’s going great,” says Rudner via e-mail. “We had a first reading of it, and now I’m sure that I can read! We just signed Davis Gaines, who played the Phantom on Broadway longer than anyone [more than 2,000 performances] for the male lead.”

The musical is something she’s been working on with her husband.

Earlier this year she told a reporter: “I like challenges and this is challenging.”

We’ll all have to wait and see how the show goes once it’s ready for the stage.

Rudner, who is a favorite comedienne of many in Vegas, where she played exclusively for over a decade, is excited to be singing again.

“I was very encouraged,” she says. “At the reading, I sang and only one person put their hands over their ears. I told my daughter not to do that again.”

Rudner and Bergman’s daughter Molly is a 15-year-old singer-songwriter who’ll be the opening act at the Levoy Theatre show.

“I like when my daughter Molly opens for me; that way I know where she is. She’s really a very talented singer-songwriter and I give her the same words of encouragement Rodney Dangerfield once gave me: ‘Takes a long time, kid. Sometimes you never make it.’”

Rudner has fond memories of playing South Jersey, especially Atlantic City.

“I loved [playing] Atlantic City because there was so much to do,” she says. “You could walk on the Boardwalk and the next day you could walk the other way.”

When asked what people can expect at the Millville show, Rudner responds with a quip: “A pretty dress that doesn’t wrinkle.”

If you’ve seen films such as the acclaimed Peter’s Friends, Gleaming the Cube, and Love Hurts, or the 1990s TV series Tales from the Crypt, you know how funny Rudner can be—just by being herself. For somebody who started out hoping for a career in ballet, the comedienne has done quite well for herself as an actor and comic since first appearing on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1988.

On that appearance, a 34-year-old Rudner talks about her early career as a dancer.

“I had to quit the ballet after I injured a groin muscle,” she says during her stand-up bit.

“It wasn’t mine.”

Thirty years later, she’s equally amusing when asked what she’s looking forward to this summer.

“Fall,” she says.

 

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