Wow, there are a lot of lights back here.

CHRIS JEFFRIES: We're light bringers. We're bringing the light.

SARAH RUDINOFF: We can't be incandescent without them.

Museum lights are different lights than theater lights.

JEFFRIES: They actually won't be focused on us. They'll be pointed everywhere else.

RUDINOFF: That's our set design for the Frye show. Tons of lights on everyone else.

What other nontraditional dressing rooms have you gotten ready in?

JEFFRIES: Oh, stairwells...

RUDINOFF: The handicap-accessible bathroom at Re-bar. The copy room in an administrative office. That's where you get ready if you perform at a school.

JEFFRIES: Right, or the executive director's office. And they walk in, and you're in your underwear, and they haven't been told. The old Empty Space dressing rooms were right by the bathrooms, so you could hear the audience during intermission saying, "This play is so bad."

Chris, you're Dina Martina's accompanist when she performs at Re-bar. Do you ever help Dina put on her makeup?

JEFFRIES: Not the makeup, but there are zipper assists. Gloves. Harnesses.

RUDINOFF: Little hats.


RUDINOFF: Epaulettes.

JEFFRIES: Sometimes you need to hold her hair up while the coat comes on. Or the harness is clipped. Don't ask. And the whole time you're praying someone doesn't rip the curtain aside and reveal you to everybody—because at Re-bar there are only dangling curtains protecting you from the world. And you can't see them, but you can listen and try to gauge how much they've had to drink. Which is a lot.

Sarah, how does backstage at the Frye compare to the dressing rooms at the 5th Avenue Theatre?

RUDINOFF: It makes the dressing rooms at the 5th Avenue seem extremely luxurious. The thing about the dressing rooms at the 5th is that most of them face University Street, which is great, you have light, but you also are in your underpants or fully nude, looking down on downtown Seattle, essentially. And if you have one of the star dressing rooms, you're in the alley and you have no light, but you get your own bathroom. That's the thing. The star always wants to take a poop in their own bathroom.

Which theater has the best dressing room in Seattle?

RUDINOFF: The surprising thing about dressing rooms is that even in the nicest, most beautiful theater, the dressing rooms are not that beautiful. I think some of the nicest dressing rooms in the city are the Seattle University dressing rooms, because it's a new building. At the 5th, they're just old. The Paramount dressing rooms are old, too.

JEFFRIES: I have played piano at the Paramount, but they never let me use the dressing room.

RUDINOFF: At the old Empty Space dressing room, the only way to get backstage was to climb outside on the fire escape and walk on the catwalk at the back of the theater. You would pass all these people in the alley, and you're in full makeup and a wig on your way backstage. In the rain, you'd have to pop an umbrella.

Do you do vocal warm-ups backstage?

RUDINOFF: I usually do my vocal warm-ups in the shower before I go to the theater, and then I just do a little bit of humming.

JEFFRIES: We've been planning a show called Vocal Rest: The Musical, and it involves everyone doing neti pots the entire time. The whole show is water streaming out of everyone's noses.

What will you be performing at the Frye?

RUDINOFF: We're doing an excerpt from my solo show Go There. Chris played piano underneath all the stories in that show. He probably references close to 150 songs in the underscoring of that show. And then we're doing four original Chris Jeffries compositions from different musicals that he's written.

JEFFRIES: And then two songs from yet-to-be-produced musicals. One is from a Jack Kerouac novel. It's possible it's the first approved stage adaptation of a Kerouac novel. And the other is a song based on a famous Craigslist missed-connection post about two men in love.

RUDINOFF: And then we're collaborating on a Joni Mitchell mash-up. We're doing "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" and "The Magdalene Laundries."

JEFFRIES: Two late Joni Mitchell songs interspersed with a prose passage from Roberto Bolaño's 2666 about the serial murders of women in Juarez.

Have you ever performed in an art museum before?

RUDINOFF: I performed at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. And I got ready in the executive director's office!

JEFFRIES: See?! Like you do. I performed at a private party backstage at the Met in New York during an opera, and what I remember most was being in the hall and hearing over the PA: 'Nuns, get your rosaries and Bibles and line up at stage door D!'" recommended