Catching Up With Andrea McArdle


Andrea McArdle charmed Broadway audiences as Annie in 1977, but she grew up to do a lot of other stuff — and she’s still surprising!

Andrea is in Greenwood, a New York Musical Theatre Festival entry about a theater camp, which I talked with her about at the last Times Square Social.

Me: Hi, Andrea. What do you play in Greenwood?

McArdle: Sheila, the one who uses Facebook to get everyone back together. Greenwood is based on French Woods. I didn’t go to camp [in real life]. Why would you go to camp after you’ve been Annie?

Me: Meaning you already got your training by doing that?

McArdle: I would have gone before Annie. I always considered Starlight Express my camp — that was my sorority.

Me: In 2007, you played Mama Rose in Gypsy in regional theater. That’s really showing range, no?

McArdle: As a kid, I was cast as [young] Louise in Angela Lansbury’s Gypsy in Philadelphia, but my father wouldn’t let me go on the road. I wanted to be Mama Rose. When you’re eight years old and you want to be Mama Rose, you’re definitely wrong.

Me: It would have made Herbie a real sicko. Speaking of classic musicals: Were you upset when you were placed in the same Tony category as your Annie costar Dorothy Loudon for Best Actress? (The incredible Loudon, who was arguably a supporting player, won the trophy.)

McArdle: I was more disappointed over not getting the part of Dorothy in my school play. I didn’t even know what a Tony award was. They wanted to give me a special Tony, but my parents didn’t want that.

Me: Well, they were probably right. It’s so patronizing to give a kid a special award. They did that to Shirley Temple. This way you were competing with the grown-ups.

Andrea agreed and we both went back to greeting our publics.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow …