Andrea Martin Says Hello to Wilder's Dolly

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Actors Andrea Martin and Jonathan Hadary onstage at the Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. T. Charles Erickson hide caption

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On the 50th anniversary of Thornton Wilder's play The Matchmaker, Tony Award-winning actress Andrea Martin stars as Dolly Levi at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.

Still best known from the sketch comedy series Second City TV, Martin talks with NPR's Liane Hansen about her stage and screen work since the show ended 20 years ago.

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Wilder's play, which was turned into the Broadway success Hello, Dolly!, had several attractive elements for Martin, including the positive outlook on life brought to the play by Dolly Levi. But the role also represents a second chance for the actress to portray a favorite character by one of her favorite playwrights.

Several years ago, Martin was part of a production of The Matchmaker in Williamstown, Mass., that was plagued with misfortune. She only got to do five performances and when the opportunity to play the role came a second time, she didn't hesitate.

"I knew that I never delved as deeply as I could — I wanted to walk in her shoes, I wanted to know the soul of Dolly Levi."

Martin performs in The Matchmaker opposite Tony nominee Jonathan Hadary as Horace Vandergelder through October 24. And next month, the second season of Second City TV is scheduled for release on DVD.

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