DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Tony Nominee Andrea McArdle

By Andrew Gans
14 Dec 2012

McArdle as Miss Hannigan
Photo by Mitch Danforth

Question: That's so strange. I wonder why they wouldn't see you.
McArdle: I think maybe they felt it would draw attention away from the new [Annie]. Who knows why? But, I still think they're just crazy not to have me have a go at it. [Laughs.]

Question: Did you stay in touch with Dorothy Loudon throughout the years?
McArdle: Yes. We used to see each other, and Lionel Larner, her agent. Dorothy was very, very private. We would do something like "Live at Carnegie Hall," and we would sit together and talk and laugh about funny things that happened because a lot of funny things happened. [Laughs.] I mean, we were the guinea pigs, but she was that missing ingredient in the show, and all the other people that did the role—you hated them—and with her, you loved to hate her. That was the most delicious thing… No one will ever touch that.

Question: You also have two new CDs coming out.
McArdle: I do. I'm really excited. My "Live at 54 Below" is going to be coming out a few weeks later because I'm back at 54 in January, and we're actually redoing the live version. The album that I'm really excited about is called "Calendar Dream," which is an anagram for my name, and my friend Scott Logsdon, we worked together on Les Misérables in the original production, it's his concept. It's basically a song a month. [Brian] Yorkey and [Tom] Kitt write the year overview song, and then [Alan] Menken and David Zippel write January, and then I think I have Amanda Green for February, and then March we have Carol Hall, and April I believe it's Henry Krieger. I mean, the names are just staggering. It's all original stuff—all about a woman starting a new chapter of her life.

Question: How did that come about—getting all these composers together?
McArdle: This was my friend Scott Logsdon's concept, and so I said, "These people aren't going to write me an original tune!" And, now I think we even have John Kander signing on for December. I can't really say for sure, but we're 99 percent there. And, Maury Yeston, and Menken and [Tim] Rice—they wrote me this incredible song for August called "August Frame of Mind." And, these are just amazing [composers]! I mean, each song, I'm pretty floored that we got this response, and everybody basically said yes.

Question: Is there a chance you might stage the album? It sounds like it could be a song cycle.
McArdle: Absolutely, yeah. My vision is that we have really beautiful fashion photography—very artsy—each month… Not like a Vargas girl, but in that style—very editorialized, beautiful photos behind. I see this with a symphony and everything. I think there are a lot of possibilities.

Question: Who realized the anagram, or is that something you've known for a long time?
McArdle: No, that's my friend Scott, who was up late at night. [Laughs.] And, he had these anagrams on his [computer]. He put his family's names in, and then he was like, "Oh, let me put Andrea's in," and the first one that came up, it said, "Calendar Dream." He was like, "Ding! Ding!"

Question: That's pretty amazing that your name spells that.
McArdle: It spells a lot of other weird ones, too, but that was the very first one that came up, and he was like, "That's it. We're doing it."

Question: I know in the press materials for the recording it mentions you being newly single. I wonder what that's been like for you.
McArdle: It's been wonderful. I mean, I was married from the time I was 24. I didn't feel like a baby then, but when I think of it now, I have a 24-year-old now, and she's a baby to me still… We had a terrific run—almost a quarter of a century. I call that a good run, even out of show business.