Mable's Unique Gifts






The beautiful and talented Andrea Marcovicci has starred with Woody Allen in The Front, and in Oliver Stone's first movie The Hand with Michael Caine. She's also appeared in numerous other classic movie and television roles. For the last 20 years she's used her incredible vocal talents to become the Queen of Cabaret singing in cities all over the world. Recently, she spoke with us in this exclusive retroCRUSH interview.

Your mother Helen Stewart was a model and torch singer. Did she inspire you to get into the entertainment business?

To the extent that someone singing around the house constantly inspires one. I canít say she encouraged me because it wasnít something that she continued to do. When she married my father she gave up the business. Although, my father was a brilliant dancer for instance.

My father was a doctor. He had studied medicine in Vienna. He was born in 1885. My mother was his third wife. It was an amazing childhood. My father was quite elderly already for a dad. That made him very romantic and fascinating to me. He was a ballroom dancer of such genius that he did exhibition dancing at my ballroom dancing class in New York City. He was amazing. He danced with my mother who was 33 years younger than he.

She had been a singer. She gave up her singing in order to raise my brother and I, but she continued to sing brilliantly around the house and take me to rehearsals. She never gave up singing completely. She sang at this country club we belonged to and whenever there was a party. She was always singing, usually miserably sad songs which were fun to say the least. I grew up with this music.

Always, my father played the piano, classical piano. My mom was singing. They would introduce me to the Billie Holiday songs or Ella Fitzgerald or Judy Garland a great deal. My mom was crazy about Judy Garland, then Fred Astaire movies. I really grew up in this black and white childhood. I didnít have a normal upbringing by any means.

You did a movie called, Smile Jenny youíre dead with Jodie Foster and David Janssen. What are your memories of them?

Well, Jodie and I were never in the same scene, but I remember her in looping. I remember her clearly because I had only done, at that time it was only my second movie of the week. She was a pro and actually coached me. She was 9 years old and she was already a pro.

Thatís pretty impressive.

She was 9 or 10. We were on the same looping day and she actually gave me little lessons in how to do a successful looping job. If youíre on a soap opera everythingís live. You never have to go back in and do any retakes in looping, when you go back and do your voice again. I never had to do that. She was such an old pro at it. We had some outdoor scenes. Although I wasnít in the scene with her I was there on the same day. She did her looping and then she coached me. She stayed over and did some extra with me. She was a doll and she was a baby. When I think about it I remember her very, very clearly that day. We had never been on the same set on the same days. We didnít have sequences together.

I remember David Janssen very well because I had a big crush on him. Before I worked with him he had been the star of The Fugitive. When I got on set I just couldnít wait. Iíd loved him since I was a child. We had in the script a kiss that I had been looking forward to. I didnít realize they had cut the kiss out of the script because there had been script pages that had been changed. I didnít get that change. I got right on set and laid this huge kiss on him right away. I just couldnít wait to kiss him. The producer came over and said, "No, thatís been changed. Youíre not kissing goodbye." Then David whispered to the producer, "No, no she is, thatís fine. Itís fine. Weíre going to do the kiss goodbye." Heíd changed his mind. I was 25 years old and I was so in love with him.

Clip from Concorde 79 with John Davidson.

I recently picked up a DVD of a TV movie he did called, A Sensitive, Passionate Man. I was impressed by his performance.

He was wonderful in that. I remember visiting him on the set when he was making that movie. It wasnít very long after. It was shortly before he died actually. I remember him in that movie. He was great. He was a wonderful actor and man. I adored him.

You also did quite a few guest starring roles in TV shows in the 1970ís and 80ís.

I did every single one that was available. I was known for it. I was the go to girl for the wounded bird kind of role. They just went to me for everything, every kind of girl that was going to be chased, or damaged in some fashion either crazy or very vulnerable. I did Kojak, Mannix, Baretta, and Medical Center. I did Magnum, Trapper John, Hill Street Blues. I did them all. That was my claim to fame. You couldnít turn on a television set in the 1970ís and 80ís without seeing me. It was great. I loved it. I had my own series too. I did Berrengers, which was my own television series for awhile. I did a couple of feature films around that time too.

The one movie I really remember you doing was The Hand with Michael Caine.

Michael Caine for heavenís sakes thatís not too shabby. It was very good and you know who directed that movie? Oliver Stone.

Do you remember filming that very much?

I do. Itís not easy to work with a rubber hand. Itís a very difficult bit of business. Itís very hard when youíre struggling to rip a hand off you. Youíre actually holding it onto you with one hand and ripping it off with the other. Itís really hard, but of course the scenes that I loved where the more psychological scenes with Michael Caine because heís the dreamboat of all dreamboats. To be around Michael Caine is to be around the greatest raconteur in the world. He was so heavenly. I mean his history in the business and his gentlemanliness. I was the luckiest girl.


In reviewing it again I was impressed by both of your performances.

Thank you. Definitely, and the supporting cast, it has great people. Iíve never shown that to my daughter because I think it would freak her out. Someday when sheís a little older Iíll show her some of these spooky things that I was in. Of course sheíd laugh to beat the band at The Stuff with Michael Moriarty. Thatís one of the cult classics that goes right up there with Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Itís one of the worst movies ever made. Itís funny.

Itís a great claim to fame and people who are into those movies really remember things like that.

Oh yeah. Iím right up there with one of those B movie queens. Itís fine with me. I do have of course one major claim to fame, which is The Front. Now, thatís a classic. That goes to film festivals all the time as one of the great movies ever made. Iím so proud of that. Thatís a great movie and an important movie. Every now and then Iíll go and Iíll speak on that movie at film festivals and such.

clip from The Front with Woody Allen

I recently saw Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone in 3D on the big screen. Molly Ringwald is such a spicy character in that.

Isnít she something? She was such a teenager. What I remember clearly is the dear Molly at that age dying her hair all the time. She was just a child and she wanted to be a child. She didnít really understand that every time she dyed her hair weíd all have to wait for her to dye it the right color again so we could go back to work. She was just a kid.

That was filmed in LA?

It was filmed in Moeb, Utah. That was in nowheresville Utah. It was really a faraway location. Not only that, we had to film it twice.

Because of the 3D?

No. Really complicated bit of business, first of all filming in 3D is hell. The cameras are these massive boxes and itís so complicated I canít begin to tell you. Then the director was fired and we got a new director. We had to do every single thing we had already done. We had to do it all over again. I remember getting a bump payment of such a sum for me in those days. Itís not a huge sum for anybody nowadays, but for me it was enough money that I could go and buy a diamond ring for my mother. Itís the dearest memory I have of any job Iíve ever done because Iíd never been able to buy anything like that for my mom. I remember that about that movie that I could buy something so magnificent for my mother because they had to pay me twice.

A lot of people remember that as a fun, 3D movie too.

Itís whacky isnít it? It has some real interesting actors that have gone on to do some amazing things. We had Ernie Hudson. You see Ernie Hudson all the time now and Michael Ironside the scary guy. He was way scary and some fascinating art direction and the costume designs. She was over the top brilliant.

I wish theyíd do more 3D movies.

I bet its better by now. Iím sure itís much better by now. This was 1980 something. These were big boxes and the two cameras have to be meeting on such perfect axis that every camera setup takes twice as long as a normal one. We were waiting in the hot desert. We were all covered with this elaborate makeup, all this special makeup for 3D too. Gosh, it was a tough shoot.

Iíve read they need extra lighting too.

Extra lighting for 3D and hot, hot, hot, it was whacky. I loved all my experiences in making movies.

You didnít make a distinct switch to singing?

No, it happened by accident. When I started singing again it was only to express myself. I never dreamed I was going to have this career. Now of course not only am I singing and recording, but I also teach. I do these master classes in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Are there certain students that should go into another profession?

There are people that I donít think are going to necessarily end up with financially rewarding careers. I also have students where I say, "Stay where youíre at, but bring cabaret to life in your home town." In other words Iím not always so quick to say to a student, "Come to Dannyís, come to Donít Tell Mamaís, come into Manhattan." Sometimes what I want to do is instill in that student stay where you are in the town youíre in and help cabaret live where you are.

You may not be ready for New York, but youíre perfect for where you are. Not everyone has to come to New York you know. Not everybody needs to be in the glut of Manhattan. Sometimes they need to be exactly where they are. They travel to Steamboat Springs Colorado to the Perry-Mansfield School and they study with me. Sometimes they go right back where they are and make cabaret happen where theyíre at. Thereís nothing wrong with that.

There are only a few places that do cabaret in the big cities.

Well, cabaret is very thriving in most cities. You just have to seek it out. Thereís cabaret Pittsburgh, thereís cabaret in Philadelphia, thereís lots of cabaret in Chicago, great cabaret in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Iím not saying thereís a hell of a lot in Texas. Thereís not enough in Florida. Iím opening up a brand new cabaret series in Miami next week. I take what I do. I take it all over the country and I inspire and teach. That is such a new part of my life right now.

You inspire other people to bring this wonderful art to other cities.

And I have protťgťs. I have a 30 year old protťgť, a 20 year old protťgť, and a 16 year old protťgť. Theyíre doing very well too.

It doesnít matter then you can be at any age to do this.

Absolutely, I mean my 16 year old girl is doing really well. Imagine, and she doesnít think this is fuddy duddy music and would rather do Hip Hop. Sheís really, really into this and so is my 20 year old. Sheís at Juilliard studying right now. Some of her friends want to go on American Idol and she wants to do what Iím doing. My 30 year old is Fiona Appleís sister and she wants to do what I do. This is an art form that will never die, never. I donít care if how many times people try to kill it. I donít care how many times that you read in the paper that cabaret is dead it is not. It never dies because intimate entertainment is necessary for the soul.

They talk about it being one of the only arts that breaks the 4th wall and comes out to the audience.

It does and we need it. This is a cold world weíre living in. Weíre all living in our computer screens. Itís too cold. Then you go out for entertainment and the singers are singing over your heads, the sound systems are blaring, and no one is looking in your eyes. No oneís asking anything of you.

Cabaret is one of your most favorites then?

Absolutely, I love it and I need it. I also feel itís important to keep the songs alive because these are written by our poets, our great genius poets. When you go to college and you study Robert Frost and you study Emily Dickinson that keeps happening all the time. Kids leave school saying, "Yes, I studied poetry." Kids are leaving school and theyíre not studying Larry Hart, theyíre not studying Cole Porter, well those are our poets too. We have to study those poets. We have to study Gershwin and we have to study Irving Berlin. Itís not just corny. We gotta do it. As far as Iím concerned it should be mandatory.

It seems like the schools are doing just the opposite. Thereís definitely a place for the arts too.

It has to be there. Itís part of the history of our art and how this music happened. Also, when you study the history of the American popular song you also study something very important which is how the races got together in this country. When you study how the Jewish musicians met up with African American rhythms you study how the black musicians met up with the Irving Berlins of the world and they created Jazz. It is a very healing story and thatís very important too ethnically speaking. This is the meeting of the European forces and the African American. This is important stuff. This brings everybody together.

There wouldnít be Hip Hop and Jazz and all of this stuff if it hadnít been for the European Jew. You know what I mean. All the things we think of as being so different are not. We all got together right around the time of Scott Joplin. We all made it together. When you think of Skinheads and you think of Hip Hop artists and you think of people being different then each other. Theyíre not. All this music came together a long time ago.

You do a lot of research for your shows.

Oh my gosh. I really do. I really do.

Even your show on World War II songs?

That was researched for two years. The Fred Astaire songs where researched a year. The Hildegarde has taken a year. I go on Ebay and I collect clippings. I go right on and I get the old Life magazines. I get old advertisements and I put it into scrapbooks and I bring it out for people to look at. I get every book ever written and I underline them like a good Catholic girl should. I really have fun.

I thought it was interesting that you even had a request show.

Thatís my most recent show and Iím going to be doing it every spring from now on at the Algonquin. After 20 years of repertoire, the only thing thatís wrong with what I do is that every fall I have a new show and therefore my audience never gets to hear anything again. The request show was a way of me giving back to the audience for their loyalty. Giving back a show of their choice and they get to request all the old repertoire. I didnít have to memorize 200 new songs, what I did was have to re-memorize 200 of the old songs that I already knew. It was really quite an effort as you can imagine to get back to.

It took months not only to get back all of the old songs I had done for 20 years, but to do the arrangements again, then to do the books because my accompanist had to be able to read. I had to put all of those books together. There were six books on the piano that he had to be able to grab the moment a song was requested. It was really dicey and great fun.

So your husband owns Vintage Cocktails. Do you have a favorite drink that you enjoy?

Arenít you fabulous to figure that out? Oh yeah, heís going to open a bar soon. I think the French 75 which is the one made with Champagne was my favorite. The Pegu is a beauty. Itís a wonderful drink.

It made me want to try it. I saw the color on the website.

Oh gorgeous. Heís a real genius when it comes to this stuff. Heís such a genius.

Itís amazing when you think about where these recipes come from. That they could be lost and someone could unearth them and make them perfect for you.

The good old Manhattan, I love a Manhattan. That goes with Christmas somehow, with Christmas and Christmas music. My album which is so sweet and gentle.

I was listening to some of it.

Itís so gentle isnít it? Itís so sweet. I wanted it to be gentle. That was number one on my agenda. I didnít want it to be clangy or too forced. Forced gaiety is what I was avoiding. I donít like it when people force Christmas on you. I want it to be gentle.

Youíre selling that directly through your website?

Right, available now.

Operators are standing by.

I hope so. I am probably. No, I donít have to mail it out myself. My assistant in New York is doing it. I sell it on site because I like to be there to sign for everybody. I like to sign the CDís myself.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes, I do. I know I probably shouldnít say such things. I donít want to scare my daughter. I definitely believe in the supernatural. Iíve had too many experiences that are a little odd. Of knowing when the phone will ring or having dreams that come true or just a sense that thereís something. My father who died in 1968, Iíve had experiences where things will happen on the day he died many years later or just a sense that heís around me. Iíve never actually seen a ghost per se. Although I did think I saw my father once. I did. I thought I saw him once. I really like to think that there are ghosts and all kinds of spooky, nifty things.

A lot of people talk of your beauty and great legs.

Thank you. I stay slender by doing what I do. Iím not very hungry anymore and I donít drink. You give up alcohol at some point. You really do need to. I dance a lot. I move a lot. I run after my kid which is fun. Iím certainly determined to be able to move my face which leaves Botox out of the picture. I have this joke now which I use in one of my shows, that Iím the last holdout. I want to be the last actress who can still move her face and that would be me.

Eventually, theyíre going to put out a casting call for the girl who can move her face. That will have to be me. Theyíre going to need one eventually. If these girls keep doing this theyíre not going to be able to express themselves. Someone is going to have to express herself and that will be me. They canít move theyíre brow. How can you make expression if you cannot move your brow? You canít frown, you canít look sad, you canít look happy or surprised without your brow. What are they doing?

Is there a role youíre dying to do?

There are many things I want to do. Iíd definitely like to do Pal Joey with Hugh Jackman. Iíd love to play his Vera. Iíd like to put that out into the stratosphere. I know every other woman in the world is going to want to play that part, but I would. Iíd be great. I donít know who his Vera is going to be, but Iím sure heís got a list. Maybe itíll be Meryl Streep or somebody who knows.

Iíd certainly adore to do it. Iíd very much like to go on Law and Order on a steady basis. I would like to be one of those great lawyers like Judith Light does. Sheís always one of those recurring lawyers. Iíd like to do Dear World. Jerry Hermanís Dear World. Iíd like to revive that for myself. I wouldnít mind having a television series of my own. Iíd really like to do something like Helen Mirren did over in England.

I think you can be very sexy in your late 50ís. I think thereís nothing wrong with going after a real sensuality in your late 50ís. Iím so sick to death of everybody gets farmed out. I am slender and sexy in my late 50ís. Nobody ever gets a chance to do that. Most of the women actresses Iíve grown up with have gone into the matron parts. I have not found my way back into television because people say, "Well, youíre so glamorous and pretty still. We canít cast you as the mother yet."

Itís almost as if I had gained a lot. If I had been bigger and looked more like a mother I might have been working. If Dynasty were still on I could have done sort of a Joan Collins thing. I think some detectives like in the Helen Mirren tradition were very hot in her late 40ís. Something like that would be heaven, I would love to do. The other thing Iíd like to do and put out into the world is to own a nightclub. Iíd like to own an LA based nightclub. Wouldnít that be fun?

Thank you for your time.

Well, I hope you have a retroCRUSH on me!

-Randy Waage

Purchase Andrea's Christmas CD or her other wonderful CD's online

ANDREA MARCOVICCI will perform ďIím Feeling Like A Million: A Salute to the Incomparable Hildegarde,Ē from November 14, 2006 to January 13, 2007 at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, located at 59 West 44th Street in New York. Please call (212) 467-7444 for reservations or click here for more information.

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