VIDEOS: Remembering John McMartin On Stage and Screen
Having appeared in 24 Broadway productions, McMartin has been a regular on the New York stage since winning a Theatre World Award for his comic portrayal of Corporal Billy Jester in the hit Off-Broadway operetta spoof LITTLE MARY SUNSHINE.
Adept at playing authority figures who may be masking fragile interiors, he's best known among musical theatre fans as troubled husband Benjamin Stone, sorting out his relationship with Dorothy Collins' Sally, in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's FOLLIES. Here he is singing "The Road You Didn't Take" in both the original 1971 production and at the 2010 Stephen Sondheim Birthday Concert at Lincoln Center.
McMartin's first four Broadway outings all closed quickly, but in 1966 he found himself in a smash at the Palace Theatre playing Gwen Verdon's neurotic new boyfriend Oscar in SWEET CHARITY. He repeated the role in the film version opposite Shirley MacLaine.
In 1991, John McMartin took on another Stephen Sondheim leading man role, as Frederik Egerman in Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group production of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Lois Nettleton played Desiree and original Broadway Desiree Glynis Johns was Madame Armfeldt.
The following clip is from a 1960s television pilot, "Higher and Higher, Attorneys at Law." McMartin shows his dramatic chops with Dustin Hoffman, Alan Alda and Sally Kellerman. The series was not picked up.
Brilliant at light comedy, here's McMartin with KIRSTIE Alley on an episode of "Cheers."
Finally, here's a sampling of John McMartin performances to be enjoyed on original Broadway cast reordings.
"I'm The Bravest Individual," with Gwen Verdon in SWEET CHARITY.
"I'm Getting Myself Ready For You," with Randy Graff in HIGH SOCIETY.
"The Crew Song," from ANYTHING GOES.