Comedy star Andrea Martin wraps up Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Concert Series on Saturday, April 1, in Fort Lauderdale.
The concerts at Parker Playhouse pair Great White Way stars with pianist Rudetsky, a SiriusXM Satellite Radio star whom the New York Times dubbed “the Mayor of Broadway." In the series, Rudetsky conducts intimate onstage interviews that often reveal behind-the-scenes stories, which are peppered with performances of songs from the luminaries’ stage repertoire. Gavin Creel and Matthew Morrison appeared earlier in this year’s series.
Perhaps best known for her stint on the sketch-comedy television series “SCTV” and in movies such as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Martin has also won two Tony Awards: one for the revival of “Pippin” and the other for “My Favorite Year.” She received Tony nominations for her performances in “Young Frankenstein,” “Oklahoma,” “Candide” and last season’s “Noises Off.”
Martin returns to television on April 25 with a new sitcom on NBC titled “Great News.” She is also returning in the Hulu series “Difficult People.”
Here are excerpts from a recent interview with Martin.
Is it exhilarating or terrifying not knowing what Seth will pull out of his encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway?
Because we’re really good friends … it’s always exhilarating. It really keeps me on my toes, actually. It’s kind of inspiring, really. We have set things we do in the show … but we’re really in sync with each other. He’s such a cheerleader for performers. That’s why no one ever says no to him.
Were you recently in a rainforest in St. Kitts with Seth, and you two got into a competition over who was in the best shape?
Yes! We were on a Playbill cruise. We’re both fitness enthusiasts, and we’re constantly on each other like, “If you eat this cookie, do you know how much you would have to do on the treadmill?” We’re both crazy that way. We were swinging on tree branches like Tarzan. I was showing off what I believed was my arm strength that I had gotten from doing all that trapeze work in “Pippin.” But “Pippin” was 2013. I’m still stronger than he was, and you can tell him that. I think we were the only people on the cruise in the gym in the morning. We’re crazy.
What can you tell us about your new series, “Great News”?
I can tell you that it’s really funny and premieres after “The Voice.” And it’s executive produced by Tina Fey. Nicole Richie, who is fabulous and naturally funny, is in it. We’ll have two episodes back to back on April 25. I’m really excited about it, and I think it’s what the country really needs right now. It’s just funny, old-school funny. It’s about the relationship between an overzealous, dedicated and devoted mom who goes to work at her daughter’s TV station. The mom has been out of the workforce for years, so she comes in as an intern.
And you’re also returning in “Difficult People,” right?
I’m shooting it right now. This is the third season. Now, that is a completely different and really funny show. This is about really difficult people, and it’s a really hip show that is immersed in pop culture, none of which I know anything about, so I’m always faking my acting. There are a lot of comedians and celebrities that love popping in for a guest spot. We shoot in New York, and it’s very urban. But in both, I play a mom, but very different. In “Great News,” I play a cheerful, unconditional loving mom. In “Difficult People,” I do not.
You did “Hairspray Live.” If you could do any Broadway show on TV, what would it be?
Jeepers. I wish I weren’t too old for “Once Upon a Mattress,” but that has kind of passed me by. Ooh, maybe “Bye, Bye Birdie,” which they are doing next year. Boy, you got me.
How about “Young Frankenstein”?
Yes! Then, I could say, “He was my BOYFRIEND!” Oh, thank you for that.
Can you talk a little about your work for the Children of Armenia Fund (COAFKids.org)?
I host their gala every year. I’ve been doing it for 12 years. It’s a huge passion of mine. In fact, I was with them over the weekend, the president of COAF. They gave me my birthday gift. It’s the Andrea Martin Center for the Performing Arts, right in the middle of this poor, rural village in Armenia, which everyone has forgotten. [COAF] raises funds for schools and clinics because they have no medical care there. The kids who have benefited from the schools have all gone on to learn English and become exchange students here. It’s very moving. … I am Armenian on both sides, so it is very meaningful to me. A big thing is it’s all done under the radar. It’s not politically intruded upon. One hundred percent goes to the programs. With most charities, 30 percent to 40 percent goes to the actual cause, and the rest is administration. But 100 percent of what we raise goes to self-sustaining villages, and that is really unheard of.
Have you ever been to Florida?
My dad used to live in Boca Raton. I would go to the Boca Beach Club. I think that’s the name of it. He died in ’94. But we used to go to Lauderdale all the time. My stepmother is now remarried, but she’s coming to this show. And my hairdresser is going to be in Miami that weekend, and he’s driving up. And the first show I ever did was [a touring production of] “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” and we played Fort Lauderdale. That was in 1971, I think. I can’t remember, but I can’t wait to come back.
Andrea Martin will perform 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., in Fort Lauderdale (in Holiday Park). Tickets cost $37-$123. To order, call 954-462-0222 or go to ParkerPlayhouse.com.