“You should realize you are perfect just the way you are. So just keep working any time and any place you can find work, and don’t listen to other people who are trying to change or suppress you, because you can make your own career.”
So said multiaward-winning comedienne/actress Andrea Martin, who will share an evening of comedy and song in her new one-woman show set for the DuPont Theater in Wilmington from May 15-20.
Martin’s show, Final Days! Everything Must Go!, is a kind of tag-sale comedy and musical extravaganza where everything is up for grabs, and includes favorite Broadway tunes as well as memorable SecondCityTV characters. Martin said she will open the book on her life, career and famous Hollywood friends through song, story, and a bit of Greek dancing.
Born in Portland, Maine, the oldest of three children, Martin said she was probably born to perform. It all began when she was just 9 and joined the Portland Children’s Theater.
“I always enjoyed playing larger-than-life characters and always had a huge imagination. But I didn’t realize then that I could build a career on that,” said the 65-year-old actress.
But she did. Soon after graduating from Emerson College as a theater major, Martin won a role in the touring company of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
“I think I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,“ Martin said. “They were looking for a short actress who could play Lucy, the bossy little girl in the show. I guess I just fit the bill. That show got me my Equity card,” she added, referring to membership in the Actors’ Equity Association, “so after that I was off to the races.”
Martin eventually relocated from New York City to Toronto, Canada, where she immediately found steady theater work. She also was cast in several films.
But soon she joined then-unknowns John Candy, Dave Thomas, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and others on the Canadian sketch-comedy television series SCTV. One of Martin’s most memorable characters on the show was leopard-print-wearing station manager Edith Prickley (still one of her favorites, along with Aunt Voula from My Big Fat Greek Wedding), whose dealings with the staff, including president/owner Guy Caballero, clueless newscaster Earl Camembert and washed-up actor Johnny LaRue, helped to provide much of the show’s humor.
Some of her other memorable characters included repressed sexologist Dr. Cheryl Kinsey, tone-deaf children’s entertainer Mrs. Falbo, Texan curio pitchwoman Edna Boil, and impossibly tight-jeaned Melba, the Disco Queen.
“Those were great days,” Martin admitted, “and they led to so many other opportunities for me.”
For example, Martin was able to make her Broadway debut in the musical My Favorite Year, for which she won the Tony Award, Theatre World Award, and Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
And there were more hit shows, including Candide and Oklahoma! — both of which brought her Tony nominations — and Fiddler On the Roof. She also appeared as Frau Blucher in the Broadway premiere of Young Frankenstein.
“I love doing comedy, but I also love some of the more serious roles I’ve had,” Martin explained. “Comedy is really hard because you’re always standing there listening for the response, but still I love it.
“I’ve also enjoyed expanding my horizons, like playing in Exit the King on Broadway. It was a play that forced me to delve very deeply to formulate who my character was,” she added.
Next, Martin said, she’d like to do another TV series, and play juicy parts in films where she could make out with guys like Johnny Depp.
“Who knows?” she said. “Maybe soon it’ll all come to pass!” ••
For times and ticket information, call 302-656-4401.