NE native returns to her roots

An­drea McArdle

She skyrock­eted to star­dom in 1977 as Broad­way’s ori­gin­al An­nie, for which she was the young­est per­former ever nom­in­ated for the Tony Award for Best Act­ress in a Mu­sic­al, win­ning both the Theatre World and Out­er Crit­ics’ Circle Awards for her per­form­ance.

And yet the North­east’s very own An­drea McArdle said she nev­er tires talk­ing about the role that gave her the ride of a life­time.

“New York in the ‘70s was a won­der­ful place to be. It was a sweet, simple time and so was our show. We had no idea how suc­cess­ful it would be or what it meant to people. To us, it was just like one big party every night.”

But as a mat­ter of fact, look­ing back, “I owe everything to that show,” said McArdle, who is com­ing to the Rrazz Room in New Hope Sept. 13-14. “I’ve had such good luck since do­ing that show and won­der­ful memor­ies of those times.”

But even be­fore that award-win­ning show, McArdle was mak­ing a name for her­self, on TV in Search for To­mor­row, then at a loc­al din­ner theat­er, and fi­nally Broad­way. And she hasn’t stopped since.

“I feel very for­tu­nate to still be work­ing very much past those ing&ea­cute;nue days,” she said. “I think any child star has to know who they are, and I did. I was al­ways an en­ter­tain­er. I opened for Dav­id Bren­ner. I toured with Lib­er­ace. And I con­tin­ue to do con­certs, and shows, even re­gion­al shows just to ex­er­cise my theat­er chops.”

Per­haps one thing that has kept McArdle groun­ded her whole young per­form­ing life was that neither she nor her par­ents ever thought of her as a star.

“In fact,” she said, “I nev­er missed out on any­thing, I went to every prom, to every party, and I cred­it my par­ents for that. They treated me like every oth­er child. If I missed my curfew, my pun­ish­ment was clean­ing the bath­room early Sat­urday morn­ing. You bet­ter be­lieve I made my curfew be­cause I didn’t want to get up early on a Sat­urday and do that.”

It might also help that McArdle is still dazzling and young-look­ing for her age.

“Here I am at 50 still wait­ing to play 50-year-old people,” she re­marks. “I was 38 when I played Belle so I’m wait­ing for audi­ences to catch up.”

These days, however, McArdle is fo­cus­ing on her cab­aret act titled ’70s and Sunny, which she’ll be per­form­ing in New Hope. She’ll pay trib­ute to the mu­sic of the dec­ade that helped define her as an artist and sing­er. From Broad­way to Billy Joel, from disco to Mo­town, McArdle will ex­plore her mu­sic­al roots and re­veal how the girl who danced at Stu­dio 54 evolved in­to the wo­man she is today.

“Wheth­er it’s the songs of Sond­heim, Jerry Her­man, Kar­en Car­penter or Bar­bra Streis­and, they all in­spired me. It feels good to go back to those won­der­ful years — even if just in song.” ••

The Sept. 13 show will start at 8 p.m. The Sept. 14 show will be­gin at 7 p.m. Tick­ets cost $35 and $45. Vis­it  www.ther­ 

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