Andrea Martin (My big fat greek wedding star)
Posted 19 January 2003 - 09:21 PM
Played Aunt Voula in my big fat greek wedding
Posted 24 January 2003 - 03:38 PM
My exwife used to say Andrea had to be Armenian because of her Perini character.
I guess she had to be right about something.
Posted 10 October 2011 - 10:46 AM
October 7, 2011 Friday 01:02 PM EST
A life in laughs; Andrea Martin looks back on four decades in the funny business
by: Steven Mazey, The Ottawa Citizen
FINAL DAYS! EVRYTHING MUST GO!
What: Andrea Martin presents Final Days! Everything Must Go!, with
pianist Reza Jacobs
When and where: 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14, Centrepointe Theatre
Tickets: $54.50 at the box office, through centrepointetheatre.com or
Watch a Clip of the highlights reel that Andrea Martin presents at the
beginning of her show
OTTAWA - She's a writer and actress who won two Emmy Awards for
television writing and a Tony Award for her work on Brodway, and she's
been praised by critics as "one of the funniest women alive" and "a
Andrea Martin's fans have included Carol Burnett, Johnny Carson and
Mel Brooks, who, when he adapted his 1974 film Young Frankenstein into
a Broadway musical a few years ago, gave Martin the plum role of Frau
Blucher, the sinister castle keeper who makes horses rear at the very
mention of her name.
The role brought Martin her fourth Tony award nomination, in a
Broadway career that has included acclaimed work in Fiddler on the
Roof, My Favourite Year, Candide, Oklahoma and Ionesco's Exit the
King, in which she performed with Susan Sarandon and Geoffrey Rush in
But if you're in the audience at Centrepointe Theatre Oct. 14 and you
happen to be new to Martin's comedy, don't worry. Early in her new
solo show Everything Must Go!, Martin offers a little Andrea 101: a
video of highlights from her four-decade career in the funny business.
Or as Martin, 64, refers to it, "my obituary montage."
At North Bay's Capitol Centre earlier this month, where I caught the
show, the audience was roaring and applauding the clips, which include
a generous sampling from SCTV, the 1980s Canadian sketch-comedy series
in which she starred with John Candy, Martin Short, Eugene Levy and
Catherine O'Hara. Other clips pop up through the show, to give Martin
time to change costumes.
We see the petite, wide-eyed Martin as a smouldering Sophia Loren, a
singing Indira Gandhi (in the musical Indira!), a startled Liza
Minnelli, belting out a big note while a fly enters her mouth, a teary
Bernadette Peters, an Anne Murray who has trouble walking in high
heels and a wheezy-voiced Brenda Vaccaro (a brilliant send-up of a
feminine hygiene commercial that Vaccaro did).
There are also clips of the characters Martin created for the series,
including English-language-fracturing Perini Scleroso, Texas
pitchwoman Edna Boil and the immortal Edith Prickley, the wisecracking
station manager fond of leopard prints, sparkly eyeglasses and bawdy
one-liners about the male anatomy.
>From Martin's more recent work are clips from Star Trek: Deep Space
Nine (in which she managed to be funny while encased entirely in
rubber makeup), and the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which
Martin stole every scene she was in as eccentric Aunt Voula.
In her stage show, Martin revives some of those characters, including
Voula, Prickley and uptight sex therapist Cheryl Kinsey, who offers
advice to women in the audience who have difficulty reaching fake
orgasm. As the kerchief-wearing Scleroso, Martin reprises a classic
sketch in which she is trying to learn English and becomes
increasingly hysterical as she tries to repeat the phrase "Can you
show me the way to the hotel?"
As Voula, Martin offers a funny bit that we won't give away, except to
say it involves audience members joining Voula onstage for a taste of
Between the laughs, Martin also chats with the audience, looking back
on her life, with help from photos. She recalls growing up in an
Armenian family in Portland, Maine ("I was nine years old and playing
character parts"), and later, after going into theatre, following a
fellow actor to Canada, where she landed in the legendary production
of Godspell in Toronto in the early 1970s. The cast featured other
promising young performers named Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Eugene
Levy, Jayne Eastwood, Paul Shaffer and Victor Garber. And she offers a
funny and tender segment recalling raising the two sons she had with
ex-husband Bob Dolman, an actor and SCTV writer. Martin raised the
boys in Los Angeles, where fellow parents at her sons' school included
Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman. Martin felt fiercely competitive on
parent storytelling days.
In another segment, accompanied by Toronto pianist Reza Jacobs, Martin
performs songs from Broadway shows she's done. From the musical Young
Frankenstein, she offers the song He vas my Boyfriend, in which the
aged Frau Blucher sings about her torrid romance with Dr.
Frankenstein. She performs the song complete with dance moves that
involve a high-back chair (think Minnelli in Cabaret) and the risqué
Mel Brooks lyrics that can't be printed in a family newspaper.
It adds up to a laugh-filled stroll through the life and career, by a
performer who's in top form. After 90 minutes of laughter, the crowd
on its feet, not wanting to let Martin go. For any aspiring young
actors in the crowd, Martin's show is also a master class in comedy
and how to completely inhabit a character in face, voice, body and
Martin has also done serious roles, including an acclaimed performance
in Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo in Boston, and she says she'd
love to do more. But she's spent the majority of her career getting
laughs, and she says she's been having a lot of fun touring her show
through Canada and the U.S. over the past year. Though she says she's
considering a tempting offer for a big new Broadway show in the fall,
she's been enjoying touring and meeting longtime fans as well as new
ones who were too young to have seen SCTV when it aired.
"The show was meant to be kind of a look at where I am now, where I've
been and where I'm going," Martin said from Toronto recently. She
divides her time between Toronto and an apartment in New York City.
"It's a 'best of' show, really. I just wanted it to be Andrea Martin
unplugged. It's been lovely to see fans, but in the States especially
and in New York there are so many people who've come to the show who
had never seen SCTV, and that's been really lovely educating a new
audience. Having the material still stand up after all these years is
Martin says she's more relaxed this time around than she was when she
was preparing her first solo show Nude, Nude Totally Nude about 15
years ago, after a career of performing with others.
"With that show, it was a very cathartic experience, because I needed
to know that I could be on a stage on my own and feel that I was
worthy and enough. I was happy to accomplish that, so when I set out
to do this new show, I just wanted it to be pure entertainment and
fun. I didn't need to learn anything about myself."
Though she has a pianist onstage with her who helps out with some
funny audience participation bits, Martin says it can sometimes be
unnerving working solo for 90 minutes. She often has the crew light up
the audience so she can see the faces.
"I can find it lonely when I'm in a bright spotlight and can't see the
audience, so I ask them to turn up the lights because I really want to
connect with the audience. I do want to make the show like an extended
party. a collaborative thing, like I'm talking to a group of friends."
Asked where she feels she learned how to be funny, Martin says she
can't pinpoint any teacher or theatrical training. Though she spent
five years in Toronto's Second City troupe before the hit television
series started, she says her flair for comedy was something that
always felt natural.
"Comedy is so organic because it's just how I observe the world. I
relate to the world through comedy."
She says she wasn't the kind of kid who kept her friends laughing in
school while growing up.
"Growing up Armenian in Maine, I felt a bit like a fish out of water,
so I always worked hard at being popular. It wasn't until I graduated
from high school that I started to get into comedy."
Martin says she was relieved when she performed the show on a
Mediterranean cruise last month for an audience she wasn't sure would
know who she was. Martin and other performers from the Broadway
theatre world had been lined up as part of a cruise presented by the
New York theatre magazine Playbill. While there were about 150 people
on board who were part of the Playbill group, the other several
hundred people who were attending shows by Martin and others were just
there for the cruise, not necessarily for the performers.
Martin's pianist on the cruise, Seth Rudetsky, said the large audience
howled and rewarded Martin with two standing ovations.
"I had put together the show for people who I thought would know my
work, so I was very tentative about doing it on the cruise," says
Martin. "I knew a huge percentage of people weren't there to see me
specifically. But the show went very well anyway. So after that
evening, I've just let go of that fear and got really confident about
it. You don't really need to know about me or my life. It's
entertaining enough, and that made me feel good. Now I'm like
'Fabulous. Bring it on.' "
Posted 11 November 2015 - 10:42 AM
ANDREA MARTIN'S LADY PARTS...REALLY!
Nov 10 2015
Posted: 11/10/2015 11:54 am EST
A blurb by Tina Fey on the cover of the 2015 paperback edition of
the hilarious autobiographical book Andrea Martin's Lady Parts reads:
" I have loved Andrea Martin from afar for many years, but now, after
reading this funny and heroically honest book, I would like to take
things to the 'next level' and marry her. " Well move over Tina Fey,
you may have to fight me for her hand in marriage.
I have admired Martin for years, since her SCTV days when she did
side-splitting imitations of Liza Minelli swallowing a fly, Bette
Middler at the Continental Baths playing the piano with her chest
and bum; and her trademark character Edith Prickley with her leopard
skin hat and unforgettable signature laughter: paahaa! As Aunt Voula
in My Big Fat Greek Wedding unsuccessfully trying to pronounce the
word biopsy ("be-bop-bop-bopsy"), she almost had me peeing in pants...
Martin won her second TONY Award for Best Featured Actress in a
Musical for her role as Berthe in the 2013 Broadway version of Pippin.
If you missed this particular production of the Stephen Schwartz
musical, Pippin joins the circus and so does Martin, actually flying
on a trapeze at one point. She is goddamned fearless.
That she is also funny, offbeat and beautiful with her large brown
eyes and dark Middle Eastern features, I have always known. But what
shines through most in Andrea Martin's Lady Parts is her wonderful
warmth and humanity. Whether discussing her difficult relationship
with her father, or caring for her roommate and best friend who passed
of AIDS, or her childhood friend whom cancer took several years ago,
Martin cares deeply about other people, and it is precisely this
empathy which helps to make her such a great comedienne. You can't
be a truly great performer if you don't like people. While she cops
to being solipsistic and neurotic, she is actually self-confident
and generous to a fault.
Martin was born in Portland, Maine to an Armenian family from Van--her
grandparents had survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915. She studied
acting at Emerson College and joined SCTV in 1976 after playing Lucy on
a touring company of You're Good Man Charlie Brown and starring in a
few minor horror films. Steve Martin, one learns reading Lady Parts,
suggested at a dinner that she call her book "Perky Tits" because
of her, well...perky tits. Her editor thankfully put the kibosh on
that colorful if questionable title. An example of Martin's humor and
compassion in her chapter "Crazy": "I am no expert on mental illness,
and yet I could be, I've been called "crazy" so many times in my life.
Not the Sinead O'Connor shaved-head scary kind of crazy, but the
charming, spontaneous, unpredictable cute kind of crazy. Think Diane
Keaton or Goldie Hawn. ...I have managed my disorders successfully over
the years with exercise, therapy, family, close friends, children,
a career and humour...but for millions of people who suffer from
mental illness, the prognosis is less kind. ..We lack true compassion
and insight. We turn away and go about our business, hoping we don't
come into contact with someone who looks crazy."
I don't usually read celebrity bios--they tend to dwell on boring
industry details or to airbrush over the truly interesting details
in the artist's life. "A pack of damned lies!" my best friend from
USC film school would scream. There are no lies here: just honest
reflection and heartfelt truth. Even if you don't know Martin well
as an actress you'll enjoy this flowing account of one of our best
actress's colorful life. And if you don't know Martin (What's wrong
with you, get with the program!), just search her YouTube skits or
why not, buy all seven seasons of SCTV--Martin Short, Gilda Radner,
John Candy and other stellar performers all started off there as
well--and enjoy. As they say in Armenian, gnadsset! To life! To Andrea!
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