Broadway star Christine Ebersole won’t have a full cast behind her when she comes to Broward on Saturday. No pit orchestra, and no fancy sets.
She’ll perform some of her biggest numbers — and talk about her roles — in a one-on-one show with pianist/schmoozer/ Broadway talk-show host Seth Rudetsky at the Parker Playhouse.
Ebersole, 65, will have a lot to sing and talk about. A one-time cast member of TV’s “Saturday Night Live,” she has been on the theater scene since the 1970s, worked opposite Richard Burton and Richard Harris as Guenevere in Broadway and touring revivals of “Camelot,” and has won two Tony Awards as best actress in a musical (“42nd Street” and “Grey Gardens”). Most recently, she was nominated for a Tony as beauty mogul Elizabeth Arden in “War Paint.”
We talked to Ebersole about her upcoming show, and her favorite roles and co-stars.
Q: What can audience members expect to see at your upcoming Parker Playhouse performance?
A: It’s always fun to work with Seth Rudetsky. He mixes it up between interviews and singing songs I’ve done in Broadway shows. And maybe things I haven’t sung, or would like to sing. I really can’t give you the exact set list because I don’t even know it myself.
Q: How do you put this show together with Seth Rudetsky? Do you practice remotely? Is it improv?
A: We’ve worked together for so many years now, it’s shorthand really. We’ve done a lot of the Playbill cruises together, so that’s how we design these evenings. But he’s really the one that’s at the helm. We set the set list before we go in, but he’s so busy. There’s not a lot of rehearsal.
Q: What are your favorite shows that you have been in and what are your favorite shows that you have not been in?
A: I love “Sweeney Todd,” and I’ve never done a production of that. I loved doing “Grey Gardens” when I was in that. And I loved doing “42nd Street.” All the shows that I’ve been in I’ve loved doing because it’s the love of the musical.
Q: You’ve recently originated the role of Elizabeth Arden in “War Paint,” but have also starred in revivals. How has each been a different experience for you and which is more fun?
A: It’s comparing apples to oranges. You can’t really compare them because they’re each unique on their own. It’s fun doing a new musical because you’re in it from the ground up, and you don’t have anybody that did it better than you before. There’s nobody that you have to be compared to.
Q: Have you ever been starstruck by anyone you have worked with?
A: Richard Burton, Johnny Cash (“SNL”) and Richard Harris.
Q: Is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet that you would like to?
A: I’m sure everybody. There’s too many to name.
Q: When you aren’t on stage, what is your favorite thing to do?
A: Relaxing, because I’m usually very, very busy. That’s really what I like to do. And, of course, travel.
Q: Will you have any time to spend in Fort Lauderdale while you’re here?
A: I’m afraid not. It’s a quick in and out. But I do love Fort Lauderdale. It’s a beautiful, beautiful city.
Q: What are your favorite songs to perform and why?
A: I have to look back at 40 years of performing. I don’t really have any favorite songs. I love singing and I love performing and I love entertaining. That’s what I look forward to doing when I come down to Fort Lauderdale.
Q: What advice do you have for young performers, and is there any advice you wish you had gotten as a young performer?
A: The most important thing is that you need to love what you do. You need to have the passion and the commitment.