Stage Door News
Stratford: Andrea Martin to receive Stratford Festival’s Legacy Award September 23
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Award-winning actor-singer-comedian Andrea Martin is being celebrated by the Stratford Festival as the 2019 Legacy Award recipient, at a gala to be held on September 23 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Andrea’s for decades,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Her work on SCTV had me in stitches, so when I saw her live in Candide here at the Stratford Festival, I was ready to worship at her altar, and this goddess didn’t disappoint. Her vitality and enormous talent have made her an icon. It is a great pleasure to say thank you and celebrate her and her intersection with Stratford.”
Martin has hundreds of stage, television and film credits, including a spectacular season at the Stratford Festival in 1978, when she played Sibyl Chase in Noël Coward’s Private Lives, with Brian Bedford as Elyot Chase, Nicholas Pennell as Victor Prynne and Maggie Smith (the 2012 Legacy Award winner) as Amanda Prynne.
That same season Martin also played the Old Lady in the musical Candide, a role she reprised on Broadway in 1997, earning one of a record-breaking five Tony nominations for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She won for Pippin in 2013 and My Favorite Year in 1993. She earned a sixth Tony nomination, for Best Featured Actress in a Play, for 2016’s Noises Off.
“How fortunate am I to be honoured twice by the Stratford Festival?” Martin says. “I was first honoured, in 1978, to be part of Stratford’s acting company. I was cast alongside Dame Maggie Smith and Brian Bedford in Private Lives, directed by Robin Phillips. And on alternate nights I pranced around the stage as the Old Lady with half a butt in the Leonard Bernstein operetta Candide. If 1978 was the cake, 2019 is the icing. Thank you Stratford for this glorious award.”
In Canada and beyond, Martin is beloved for her many roles in the iconic sketch comedy series SCTV, particularly that of leopard-print-wearing Edith Prickley, the station manager. She was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress for the series in 1982 and, along with the rest of the writing team, was nominated for nine additional Emmys during the show’s run, winning two.
Born in Portland, Maine, Martin moved to Canada in 1970 and immediately found work in film, TV and theatre. In 1972 she was cast as Robin in a Toronto production of the musical Godspell, with Gilda Radner and Eugene Levy, as well as Martin Short, Victor Garber and musical director Paul Shaffer, all three of whom with be paying tribute to Martin at the Legacy Gala, along with Festival company member Dan Chameroy.
On screen, aside from her work on SCTV, Martin has appeared in recurring roles in such series as Roxie, The Martin Short Show, Damon, George and Martha, Working the Engels, and, most recently, as Marilyn Kessler on Hulu’s Difficult People, as Carol Wendelson on NBC’s Great News, and as Francesca Lovatelli on CBS’s The Good Fight. Her many film credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Producers, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and the role of Aunt Voula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
Martin made her Broadway debut in My Favorite Year, playing the role of Alice Miller, a show-stealing performance that earned her her first Tony Award, as well as a Drama Desk Award and a Theatre World Award. Her other Broadway credits include Aunt Eller in Oklahoma!, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, Frau Blucher in the Mel Brooks musical comedy Young Frankenstein, Juliette in Exit the King, Berthe in Pippin and Dotty Otley in Noises Off.
The Stratford Festival launched its Legacy Award to honour important figures from its history. The first award was presented Christopher Plummer in 2011. Since then it has gone to Dame Maggie Smith, William Shatner, Martha Henry, Colm Feore, Eric McCormack, Gordon Pinsent and Megan Follows.
The Legacy Gala is co-chaired by Barry Avrich and Wendy Pitblado.
Photo: Andrea Martin as Sibyl and Brian Bedford as Elyot in Private Lives. © 1978 Robert C. Ragsdale.