Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

pixeltracker

Christine Andreas is at 54 Below Sep. 24-25

BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

There are some people who just have a passion for living. Passion is a word that applies to everything Christine Andreas touches. She has been bewitching Broadway audiences since she first appeared as the wicked maid Nancy in Angel Street. Her turns in much-heralded revivals of My Fair Lady, Oklahoma!, and On Your Toes made her Broadway's ingenue of choice and earned her two Tony nominations. She also wowed Broadway audiences in The Scarlet Pimpernel and the 2010 revival of La Cage aux Folles. She conquered touring in The Light in the Piazza and the West End in The Fields of Ambrosia, written by her husband and collaborator, Martin Silvestri.

This week Silvesrtri and Christine Andreas return to 54 Below in her new show AND SO IT GOES. Andreas' elegance, intelligence, and powerhouse soprano have made her one of America's premier club acts. I was lucky enough to chat with Christine while she puttered in the garden of her home just north of the city. Here are some enchanting highlights of that conversation.

BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

Ricky Pope

I'm very excited to talk to you. I have to tell you right away that my sister is very jealous that I'm talking to you because we were both big fans of Another World and Dr. Taylor Benson.

Christine Andreas

Oh, God.

Ricky Pope

I know, she was a crazy one.

Christine Andreas

Well, she started out nice. And then I walked in one day and they said, "You're going to be crazy." And I was like "Ooh, cool."

Ricky Pope

There are people who are crazy, and then there are people who really truly go off the deep end. And that was her.

Christine Andreas

I'd never done that kind of work before. So that was pretty wild.

Ricky Pope

I imagine that's very hard doing a daily drama.

Christine Andreas

I stood in awe of those actors. I had none of that quality. I learn lines, I realized, by moving to go to the desk to pick something up. Here there was no time to even do it with the blocking. You just adapted the dialogue in your brain unattached to anything. It was scary. I had no idea how hard it was going to be. Sometimes 10 scenes in a day. And when we finished that, I just broke out into "Hello, Dolly" or something. They all looked at me like I was crazy.BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

Ricky Pope

10 scenes in a day! Wow. Well, I want to talk about your upcoming show at 54 Below, AND SO IT GOES. What can fans expect from this show?

Christine Andreas

Well, hopefully, it's a feel-good show. It evolved from the single intention of cheering myself up, just wanting to feel better. And I realized it wasn't just about all the current events. What has gotten me unhappy? And how do I go about sharing myself without sounding too philosophical or too wordy? An artist always worries in their shows that they get a little too self-indulgent. You're up there to entertain people, not to go to confession. You know?

Ricky Pope

Of course.

Christine Andreas

I did that only one and nobody listened to me. I did a show where I felt sorry for myself. I sang about my pain in a comedy club.

Ricky Pope

I think these shows are about finding what's universal and sometimes your own pain isn't as universal as you think it is.

Christine Andreas

Oh my God, it's just so boring. This is a show I wrote basically to cheer myself up, to find things that I thought were either funny or heartfelt or even a little provocative. I like to make people feel their humanity without being preachy.BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

Ricky Pope

It sounds like you have used your time during the pandemic to really think contemplatively about your place in the world.

Christine Andreas

I always have. I'm really pretty shy. Part of me could be happy on a mountain top in a cave. Maybe not that extreme, but I wouldn't mind going and learning about existence. Getting in front of people and doing all this has always unnerved me. And yet, I live for it because I'm a showoff too.

Ricky Pope

Well, of course.

Christine Andreas

COVID gave me time because I didn't have to go out there and be a show-off, to just contemplate my navel and, and get back into the humor. Appreciation. That's the word, appreciation.

Ricky Pope

I think a lot of people are doing that. They're just trying to find what it is that brings them joy, just trying to reconnect to that because it feels like it's been beaten out of them these last few years.

Christine Andreas

The beautiful thing about this terrible time was that you realized you weren't in it alone. This was an international issue. So you've got a choice to feel victimized by the challenges you're facing, whether it was COVID or your husband or your mother-in-law or your job or being really out of money. Whatever it is, you've got a choice to be totally victimized or to go, "Okay, everybody's dealing with this. What can I handle and what do I just have to give up to God or whatever you believe in? What can I do?"

BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

Ricky Pope

Are you one of those artists who finds it pleasant to listen to yourself or do you find it painful to listen or watch yourself perform?

Christine Andreas

Ricky, I have a special needs son. And his greatest thing in life is to play my music. So every weekend I am forced to hear myself. And he goes into bliss. It's a therapeutic thing to a good degree for him. But if I have to sing, "You are My Home" one more time. There are certain songs he just loves and I love them too. But the 50th time in two weeks! So I actually don't mind hearing myself if I feel I'm expressing truthfully. I like the gift that God gave me. It's harder watching, definitely harder watching. I filmed my Piaf show. My husband produced and filmed this beautiful show and I had to watch myself. And I may not like certain things about me and aging and all that. But overall I was pretty proud of myself.

Ricky Pope

Were you always an artist? Let me rephrase that. I think there are two kinds of artists. There are people who were born into artistic families, and then there are people who are like aliens inside their families.

Christine Andreas

I'm an alien on the planet. In my show, I talk about feeling that way into my thirties. So this is just something in me. I didn't have necessarily an artistic family. I had a really bright daddy who was in the think tank of IBM. And my mom was a stay-at-home mom and a very Catholic mom. So there are eight of us. And she was a natural singer. I listened to her from in utero on. I felt it from her. She filled the house with it. So she was my greatest teacher in just being as unselfconscious as possible. That's what was so tantalizing about her singing. She had a nice sort of alto sound. She actually introduced me to all kinds of artists. I was born artistic in that I find beauty in everything. It's one thing that keeps me charged up. So I could hear phrasing and I could hear artists singing truly. I appreciated the great singers and that, of course, informed me as well.BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

Ricky Pope

That's awesome. You've had some amazing successes. But I wanted to talk about a couple of shows that were maybe more difficult. Both Legs Diamond and The Scarlet Pimpernel underwent a great deal of rewriting. I know that you're a person who practices self-care. Did you have tricks for getting through those very stressful periods?

Christine Andreas

Well, in terms of Legs Diamond, I was written out of the show. The show was broken and they were trying to fix it. So it really wasn't about me and my gifts. I loved the part. I loved my songs. I loved Peter [Allen.] I loved everybody involved. The gift of that show was that I ended up getting pregnant, telling the producer I was pregnant during the workshop. And God bless Marvin Krauss, he said, "Hey, the show's pregnant! Don't worry about it. We'll have a baby and we'll all get back together again". And so I went away having this child, knowing I had a Broadway show to come back to. And so Legs took me through my pregnancy with this upbeat heart. I was going to come back into the business again because I've done a lot of detours in this business.

Ricky Pope

Of course.

Christine Andreas

So Legs served that purpose. Pimpernel was harder because it was a great idea. It's a great, great story. Percy was the first superhero. My character was just strangely written. It was underwritten. And we didn't go out of town. You've got to go out of town and fall flat. And even then it's challenging. But when you decide to open in New York, you're so self-conscious. So it was a shame because Frank [Wildhorn] really wrote some great tunes. It was a hard score. It was written for Linda Eder, who's brilliant at singing pop as well as Broadway. And it was written for this vocal powerhouse. I don't have Linda Eder's chops.

Ricky Pope

I don't think anyone does.

Christine Andreas

The score was gorgeous for her. It was hard for me, but you know, whatever didn't kill me, made me stronger. And again, I loved the company. I don't know that the improvements they made were such great improvements, but I'm prejudiced. I think there was more to do to make it a better show. I don't know what it would be but I hope someday Frank finds out because that score deserves a better book.

Ricky Pope

Well, maybe they will someday. I hope. And I would not sell myself short. You sounded fabulous on all of that material.

Christine Andreas

Thank you.BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

Ricky Pope

It's interesting to hear you talk about having self-doubts. Because I think in some ways you have played consistently strong women. Characters like Nancy in Angel Street, Eliza Doolittle, or Laurey, or, Marguerite or Margaret Johnson or Jacqueline in La Cage aux Folles.

Christine Andreas

The toughest I ever played was in my husband's show, The Fields of Ambrosia. A show most of you haven't seen, and I played this incredible woman, Gretchen. Quite sobering and raw. I loved it. And Margaret was a real challenge. Yes.

Ricky Pope

Of all of these women, who would you say is closest to the real Christine?

Christine Andreas

Well, now that I have all these years to think back on it, I was a lot like Laurey. Very skittish. I could be very oppositional. I was willful, but I was not unkind. Women like that, they're not always easy. I was always hard on myself. Being a devout Catholic, it kind of goes with the territory. If you're not good enough for God, who are you good enough for? And I kind of bought that for a long time. So definitely Laurey, when I was younger and maybe even now because you know, life is very big. Not life, but living, the experience of being in this world is large. The more vulnerable you are to everything, it can just feel so huge. What did Aunt Eller say to her? "You've gotta be hardy. You can't have the sweet and tender in life less'n you're tough" It's not so much toughness, but it's the toughness of understanding how to handle the big stuff. I guess I have some Gretchen in me because I never knew I had killer instincts, but I think I do as I get older. That was a little unnerving because I thought I was this sweet ingenue.

Ricky Pope

I don't know. I think to survive more than a couple of decades in this business, everybody has to have a bit of a killer instinct.

Christine Andreas

I'd rather call it a warrior than a killer. Because you're killing pieces of you that don't work more than you're killing somebody else. I don't need to murder anyone. Margaret had a certain level of denial in her. But that kind of goes with 50s territory. I had some of that too. I'm a product of the 50s, you know. But she had fiber. All my girls had fiber. You have to find the pieces of you. Then augment them when you're playing the part.

BWW Interview: Christine Andreas of AND SO IT GOES at 54 Below Talks About the 'Bigness' of Life and her Extraordinary Career

Ricky Pope

You've answered a lot of big philosophical questions. Let's end with a simple one. I know that one of the things that you have done during the pandemic is that you've discovered a love of growing roses. Do you have a favorite rose?

Christine Andreas

My lovely friend, Karen Mulvey has 102 rose plants. So she gave me courage about it and she gifted me four rose bushes, David Austin, roses. They're stunning. I have a rose called Golden Celebration, which gives me golden flowers. It's very pretty. And my two loveliest favorites right now are Princess Alexandra, which is a pretty pink rose. And my favorite is Earth Angel, which is a pale white, and all of them just have the most beautiful scent. It was wonderful to watch things grow and to help things grow. And then you get scared because it gets bugs and you're afraid you're killing it. But you develop courage.

Ricky Pope

That is a metaphor for life. I'm so grateful to you for taking this time to talk to me and I can't wait to see your show next week.

Christine Andreas: AND SO IT GOES is at 54 Below at 7 pm Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25. For tickets and information, go to 54below.com. To learn more about Christine Andreas, visit christineandreas.com. Her music is available on Spotify and all major streaming platforms.


Related Articles View More Cabaret Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

From This Author Ricky Pope