It was Andrea Martin's friend, Hairspray Tony winner Scott Wittman, who serves as the creative consultant for the theatre-district nightspot 54 Below, who asked whether the Tony-winning actress would like to appear at Manhattan's newest cabaret.
"I said, 'Why the hell not? Before I die, I want to do cabaret! It's on my bucket list!'" Martin told me by phone from Toronto last week.
Although she has played small theatres, the artist, one of, if not the, greatest comedic actresses of her generation joked, "I don't think I've ever played any place with a two-drink minimum!"
"I love [being able to see the audience]," Martin explained. "In fact, in big theatres, I like to see the faces. I always bring the house [lights] up. And, I particularly like this because anything goes. I don't know what's going to happen. Of course, I've got some material rehearsed, but I'm looking forward to connecting to the audience, and I just think of it as a big party, really."
About putting together her one-woman shows, Martin said with a laugh, "I work with as many people as I possibly can that I don't have to pay… but I will give them credit! Peter Flynn has been instrumental in helping me. He's not with this cabaret venue, but he's certainly been instrumental in helping me in the last couple of years when I've been doing a show with Seth. I've been [doing] a little tour, and he helped me put that together. That was two years ago, so I love him for that. And, Seth, of course… Can you beat Seth Rudetsky? The King of Broadway. Of course you know at Playbill! So, he's my musical director, and we certainly collaborate, and if a joke doesn't work in the middle of the show, he'll throw one out, and we'll try that. Very loose. Very fun.
"Well, it just doesn't get better," Martin continued. "[Seth] has an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway and songs, and so if I want to try something new, we'll try it. He's so relaxed on stage and has just a crazy attitude of 'We're just there to have fun. Just interact with the audience.' For him, it's like one big conversation, really, with an audience. So I love that. He's a great person to have with me on stage."
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