BWW Interviews: Jackie Hoffman Talks Turning 5-0
Actor and comedian Jackie Hoffman is currently starring as Grandma Addams in The Addams Family, and later this month, Hoffman will be bringing her all-new solo show, "Jackie Five-Oh!: A Celebration of Jackie Hoffman's First 50th Birthday," to Joe's Pub. The show will feature Hoffman's trademark humor and original songs, including two that she wrote for Grandma Addams. Hoffman won the 2003 Theatre World Award for her role in Hairspray and has previously appeared on Broadway in Xanadu.
Entertainment Reporter Nick Orlando spoke with the hilarious Hoffman in-between shows.
So, it's been a busy year for you with The Addams Family, your parody of Lady Gaga's "Alejandro," hosting NYC's annual Halloween parade on NY1, and now you are bringing your all-new solo show to Joe's Pub. It goes on and on....
It does go on and on! Also, now I am doing a workshop for a new musical. That's been a nightmare. I have a day gig now, too, which ends on Friday. It's a new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They are looking to bring it to London in a couple of years.
So, you turn the big 5-0 on November 29th?
Yes, please correct that for all of the media. Wikipedia has my birthday as November 11th and my husband went on and corrected it.
What are your plans for this milestone?
My second show will be on my birthday. I will be doing this fabulous, very funny show. It will also be the day the critics will be in the audience....
Revealing your age doesn't bother you?
Everything bothers me. I'm a person who is bothered by everything.
After performing eight shows per week with The Addams Family, how did you find time to work on another solo show?
I haven't worked on it yet. It has been a ridiculous ride. My piano player was away and my director is in New Orleans this week. We will all be together next week.
I can't wait to see "Jackie Five-Oh!" What will you be featuring in this show?
It will feature more of the same Jackie hatred. Some Addams Family dish - playing Grandma and turning 50 years old. There are five or six new songs.
You will be performing two songs that you wrote for Grandma Addams?
That's true. Grandma doesn't have a solo song, but all of the other grandmas have songs - the Billy Elliot grandma has a song, so does the In The Heights grandma and even the grandma in A Little Night Music. I'm the only one who doesn't, but you will be able to hear about that at Joe's Pub.
Do you think the producers of The Addams Family will give you a solo number after your Joe's Pub event?
I'll be surprised if they give me a job after they see this!
How long does it take for you to transform into Grandma Addams?
It takes about 30 minutes to do the makeup, and my hairdresser pins the wig and glues my eyebrows and moles.
By the way, how old is Grandma Addams supposed to be?
It specifies in the script 102 years old. Another 50th birthday after this and I'll be on my way.
How did this role come about?
I auditioned for one of the readings way back, two years ago, but didn't get it. They called me again, and I did another reading the June before last.
Do you remember your audition?
I actually do. I was up for another musical and I auditioned for Addams using the song from the other musical. I sang a song by Doug Cohen. It's a good thing I took Addams because that show never wound up being produced. The first time I went in to audition, I used a song I wrote about doing free shows and benefits. The song says "F*** you for asking me to do a show for free" and continues with "F***."
And you never received a call back the first time?
No, with my first audition and song choice, they hated me.
How many of your lines are you able to ad-lib each night?
There is one spot in every show I've been in that I ad-lib. People expect it, but there is nothing worse than people expecting me to improvise.
It was announced recently that Nathan Lane will be leaving The Addams Family in March. Did you know this was coming?
Yes, we all did. Our initial contracts were only for one year and they are up in March.
I did, but only at parties. He seems lovely.
What do you think he will bring to the role?
That's an interesting question. A genuine European quality.
You co-hosted the 38th Annual Halloween Parade in NYC. What was the strangest costume you came across?
It was a guy who was made entirely of plastic spoons. I loved it!
And your favorite costume?
The spoon guy; and, there were four queens dressed as bed bugs and they had a mattress. They were adorable.
In your parody of "Alejandro," you play an older version of Lady Gaga. The video features a walker and Fixodent. How did this come about?
They contacted me with the idea and I said, ‘I'm in.'
Will you be wearing raw meat or any of Lady Gaga's other unique outfits to the Tony Awards next year?
If I'm invited, I will wear a Kosher chicken.
Speaking of the Tony's, what were your thoughts on this years awards show?
You will have to wait to see my Joe's Pub show. There is one part in my show that talks about this. I don't want to give it away!
In the past, you had spoken about how hard it is to get a gig. Which is your ideal role?
I'm enjoying this one. Also, a gig like my Joe Pub's event, a starring role, would be great.
Are there any roles you absolutely wanted that went to another actor?
Yes, but I have a matinee today and don't have time to answer that!
"Jackie Five-Oh!: A Celebration of Jackie Hoffman's First 50th Birthday" will play Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street) beginning Monday, November 22 for four consecutive Monday evenings (11/22, 11/29, 12/6, 12/13) at 7:30p and just added Friday, December 24th at 7:30p and Friday, December 31st at 7p. For tickets, visit www.joespub.com or call (212) 967-7555.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos