Broadway’s Jackie Hoffman–known from Xanadu and The Addams Family–is bringing her acidic (and possibly Hasidic) hilarity to the spanking new cabaret 54Below. The place–under the legendary Studio 54 site–is being creatively consulted by Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Smash), and will feature performers like Patti LuPone, Brian d’Arcy James, and many more of the type that appeal to people like me who actually keep their Playbills.
I just talked with Hoffman about her new gig.
So, you’re christening the place?
What a choice of words. Anointing. Deflowering.
Will it be a whole new act?
Yes. But there may be a couple of old chestnuts because as they say, “We’re the basement. Who gives a fuck?”
Have you seen the place yet?
No, but all the big money people keep bragging about how beautiful it is.
So you want to play cabarets the rest of your life?
Oh my God, this is so painful. “This is what you want to do?” At least Sidney Meyer from Don’t Tell Mama calls it a “saloon singer.” I do have a line about how Scott has a show on a major network, and this is the gig he gets me. You figure any schmuck can read dialogue, stand onstage, and play someone else. I love doing it, but I have the extra schmuck factor that I can do.
Sounds like this show will be delightfully bitter, as per usual.
Yeah, same shit. I don’t even try to rise above anything in this one. I keep in in the basement.
What else are you working on?
Apparently I’m doing the Muny in St. Louis for a couple of weeks. I’m playing Matron Mama Morton in Chicago.
As a lesbian?
I never thought about it. It depends how pretty the girls in the cast are.