BWW Exclusive Interview: CINDERELLA's Fran Drescher Talks Broadway Debut, The Nanny & More!
Beloved by millions as "The Nanny" on the long-running CBS comedy, Emmy-nominated actress Fran Drescher makes her Broadway debut in the role of Cinderella's stepmother, 'Madame' in CINDERELLA. Beginning February 4th, the actress will appear for a 10-week run through April 13th at the Broadway Theatre.
Today, Drescher speaks exclusively with BWW about starring in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic fairytale and explains how 'Fran Fine' has come full circle since her days as the nanny!
Congratulations on your Broadway debut! Has appearing on Broadway been something that was always on your bucket list?
Definitely! I absolutely love theater and I've been able to sneak some in here and there between shooting schedules. So when this opportunity arose, it just so happens that I wasn't scheduled to be shooting anything and I really grabbed the opportunity. To be able to be on Broadway and make my debut in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is just a glorious dream come true and in a fairytale story that I grew up with and I'm sure many, many American girls grew up with as well. It's really a thrill for me, on so many different levels, just pushing my boundaries beyond what I'm comfortable doing, and what the public is used to seeing me do and creating a character, somebody very glamourous, yet somebody who you love to hate, it's something that I'm really excited to introduce to the audience.
And the costumes are being designed for me and they're very big and glamourous with huge wigs and gorgeous head pieces and so I think that it's going to be a very exciting character but also a visual feast!
It's exciting that both you and Carly Rae Jepsen, who will be stepping in as Cinderella, will be making your Broadway debuts on the same night.
I know! I feel very lucky that it's going that way. It's fun for us because this whole rehearsal process has felt less like we're entering a show that's already up, and more like we're starting from scratch, because there are so many actors that are joining the cast for the first time that it almost feels like we are starting from scratch. And then to have an Opening Night that is the two of us together is also going to feel like a real beginning and start of a show all over again.
Have you had a full rehearsal with the entire cast yet?
We are having a full rehearsal with the cast today [January 30] and I'm excited that we're going to rehearse on the stage with the full orchestra for the first time, that will be really thrilling. I did Camelot at Lincoln Center, a limited run for PBS, and I remember when we switched from the rehearsal pianist to the New York Philharmonic, and I must say it was just a memorable experience. And I'm just so grateful to be joining a community of talented people like the Broadway community and that I've been made to feel so welcome.
It's a bit ironic that your character on 'The Nanny', Fran Fine, worked for Mr. Sheffield, who was himself a Broadway producer.
Yes, when we created the show, we created Mr. Sheffield to be a Broadway producer and it opened up such a world of Broadway in this television sitcom that we were actually shooting in California. But it made it so New York and so rich and allowed us to have so much great talent. So it just feels like a natural progression for me to now actually be doing it for real.
You know I've always been a great supporter of Broadway, it was by design. I think that we made that choice to make him a Broadway producer because we felt that Broadway is the definition of New York City and we wanted to support Broadway in that way.
Of course you are so well-known and loved for your comedic talents, but I believe this will be the first time we are going to hear your singing voice.
Well I actually have a song on iTunes called, 'Eye For An Eye,' but yes, this is the first professional theater production that is a musical that I will be in. And I do some singing in the play but I actually have the largest speaking part and probably the smallest singing part (laughing) and I think that's the perfect ratio for me!