Interview: Christine Andreas of BROADWAY JAZZ at Bell Works

Interview: Christine Andreas of BROADWAY JAZZ

By: Jul. 31, 2022
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Interview: Christine Andreas of BROADWAY JAZZ at Bell Works

The cure-all for stress may just be Christine Andreas' voice.

The Broadway singer and actress's seductive vocal stylings set to song lyrics that speak of romance and love ("Too Late Now" by Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane, which she performed during a live BBC concert and "How Insensitive/I'm a Fool to Want You" during her remarkable set at the Carlyle Hotel is magnetic, entrancing and transformative. Hearing her croon is enough to make a believer out of any brooding pessimist in the oppressive heat.

The recipient of the Theatre World Award for her performance as Eliza Doolittle in the 20th anniversary production of "My Fair Lady" and Tony Award nominations for her roles in 1979's "Oklahoma!" for best actress in a musical and best featured actress in a musical for 1983's "On Your Toes" will appear at Bell Works on the rooftop deck in Holmdel, N.J. at 7 p.m. for the first time for a night of Broadway Jazz. She'll share the stage with Grammy Award-winning bandleader Vince Giordano, pianist Dr. Art Topilow, board certified in medical oncology and recipient of the Lifetime Award for Artistic Excellence from the Axelrod Performing Arts Center and saxophonist Danny Bacher, recipient of the Margaret Whiting Award and ranked as one of the country's top male vocalists by the National Jazz Times.

Giordano's band the Nighthawks appeared in Martin Scorsese's cinematic masterpiece, "The Irishman," starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

Andreas grew up in 1950s Camden, N.J. one of eight brothers and sisters. Though her passion for singing was manifested in the womb, or so she says, it was discovered while listening and belting along to show tunes and standards, as well as Ella Fitzgerald and Rat Packers Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra thanks to the 45s playing atop the family refrigerator.

"I was not raised listening to jazz," noted Andreas.

When she got older, long after making her Broadway debut in 1975 in a revival of Angel Street, it was working with a clique of jazz musicians at Dizzy's Club in Manhattan that made her reminisce about the genre's growing influence on her.

"Jazz comes from rhythm, and I did a show, my first set at the Carlyle, with four jazz guys. I remember feeling this engine of rhythm behind me that I never felt in the theater. It's different as the singer to feel kicked around in a happy way by rhythm, and I just went with it."

While she doesn't think of herself as jazz singer per se, Andreas is very much the keen musical creator.

"I'm not going to do hip-hop or scat. If it's classic in any way, I'm going to get it. That's the creator I am," she said. "I learned a lot from working with jazz rhythm."

"Please do not lose the downbeat, Christine" is the inner voice that provoked her into the intuitive musician she is today.


Andreas' most enjoyable show of her career was when she met her husband Martin Silvestri with whom she has one daughter, for the 1993 musical, "The Fields of Ambrosia," cowritten by Silvestri and Joel Higgins and directed by Gregory Hurst. Staged at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, Andreas played Gretchen, a role in particular that got under her skin.

"It ended tragically, but the whole experience of creating the role and singing the role was magical," she recalled. "Falling in love with Marty coincided with falling in love with the show. I loved the way he communicated with the artists, his generosity, he wasn't micromanaging anyone. The artists found their way through the music. He was a musical shepherd encouraging you to be the best you could be with what you've got."

To that end, some of Andreas' most inspirational songs are Davis' "Mr. Bojangles" and Sinatra's "I'm a Fool to Want You." The depth of feeling in these particular classics are the exact pathos she imbues into some of her own songs while assuming the role of the musical healer of the soul.

"You feel his heart breaking over Eva Gardner," she said of Sinatra, adding the vulnerability that is felt by the listener. "I don't like pain songs, but my Carlyle set opened my heart onstage with an audience; that's why you do what you do- that's why you want to work with people that help you get there, like my husband and Danny. People don't know what happened to them. During the course of the show, they're not the same as when they walked in."

The rooftop bar at Bell Works is located at 101 Crawfords Corner Road in Holmdel. Cocktails will be available for purchase. In the event of rain, the concert will take place in the atrium. Tickets are $38 in advance and $45 at the door and may be purchased by calling 732-531-9106 ext. 14 or visiting https://www.axelrodartscenter.com/.

.Image Credit: Courtesy of Axelrod Arts Center



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