Meet Jan Neuberger As The Deliciously Evil Miss Andrew

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Posted by: pia on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 12:00:00 am
I grew up in New Jersey, about 20 minutes West of the George Washington Bridge. It was a nice suburban bedroom community--in my day, no doors locked and we were outside playing practically from dawn to dusk. I was lucky I got an excellent public school education from great schools. I started dance classes at 4 years old in the basement of a local ex-ballerina. My parents divorced & My father lived in NYC, so  I spent lots of time there from a young age. I also started studying there at 16 with a theatre workshop for students. I moved there at 18 to spend 2 years as a Dance Major at NYU, lived there for the next 25 years! 
 
Playing the role of a villain is great fun. Several years ago I played the Wicked Witch of the West at St. Louis MUNY. I also flew in that role too, of course! Miss Andrew is a distant cousin, more refined and not green, but a family member. It is a delight sharing the stage with our Janes and Michaels and of course the 'practically perfect' Lauren Blackman.
 
Acting is Bred in the Bone i think. In my first dance recital I helped myself to an extra curtain call. With the brief exception of a period at around age 9 where I wanted to be what was then called an airline stewardess, I never wanted to do anything else with my life. (From my advanced vantage point today, I can imagine having taken several different paths--ah, hindsight.) I was very, very lucky to have been cast in the first revival of GYPSY at age 21. And was lucky to have had the extraordinary Angela Lansbury as the template for every positive characteristic a real star and a true professional should be--a genuine, classy lady who never let the audience see the sweat behind turning in that performance as Rose 8 times a week. I understudied Dainty June and went on the first time near the end of the preview period in L.A.; Angela had Corinne, her dresser, bring flowers from the dressing room before the show began. Then she made a beeline for me after the curtain call to say, "You've done us a great service tonight. Thank you." I'll never forget it. 
 
  Jan as Miss Andrew  with  Michelle Moughan &  Brandon Singel (Jane & Michael Banks)
 
 
 Of course I loved the movie as a kid. I saw the Broadway production early in its run. Ruth Gotschall, who played Miss Andrew beautifully, remains a standout from that evening, but I remember thinking, Oh my, that's much too much vocal exercise for the likes of me! 
 
SHOWBOAT remains a warm memory--my first at An Evening, starring Ed Herlihy! I played Ellie opposite Bill Nabel as Frank--later introduced Bill to my sister Susan and he's been my brother in law for ...well, for a long time--and father to my beloved niece and nephew. I also got engaged to my first husband during that run! I remember it being a lovely production with magnificent voices top to bottom, and I so fondly and respectfully remember Alyce Webb, who played Queenie. She was so loving-- I had then only the faintest inkling what she must have faced in the way of racial barriers during her lifetime. Another person I'll never forget.
After that I replaced the lead (the Judy Garland role) in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, directed by Richard Casper who left us too soon. I Did a Christmas show one year, too, and the last production I did was a GEORGE M! with Frank Root that was running in 1986. And then I guess I got busy elsewhere--this is my first show at the "new" theatre!   
 
I don't have a strong opinion, although in a perfect world there would be more Musicals made from Original ideas. From Mary Poppins the movie, I most fondly remember Ed Wynn and "I Love to Laugh".
 
I Still love SHOWBOAT. I love the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, especially CAROUSEL. In recent years (mainly because I don't live in NY anymore and spent 4 years getting my degree at Trinity College in Hartford), I've seen very little. Actually, I saw KINKY BOOTS back in January and had an unexpectedly wonderful time. My dream roles these days are all in plays...I'm a little weary of musicals, truth be told. 
 
When I'm not on stage I love writing (got my degree in English/Creative Writing), reading, working outdoors in the backyard and beautiful gardens my husband Bob Carter created at our home in Newtown, spending time with family & friends (especially my 3 best friends who all go back to my earliest days in NY), my 2 cats, etc. 
 
 

Comments

There is nothing better than live stage! As a kid growing up in Chicago, I ushered at the Schubert Theatre until I joined the Navy. We were also allowed to switch theatres so I was privileged to see many wonderful productions with many super talented stars. Never had the opportunity to be on stage -- Maybe in my next life, but I do so love being around the theatre. Saw and became friends with Ethel Merman when she went on the road with Gypsy. One of the highlights of my life. Jack Soo (Flower Drum Song), Florence Henderson (Sound of Music) and Gwen Verdon (Sweet Charity) were just a few of the many actors we got to know. I still have so many of these programs & playbills which help me to re-live these wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime memories.

Never having seen anything but the "Mary Poppins" movie, I had no idea there was a dark side to it. Your interpretation of Miss Andrew's was totally unexpected -- but a wonderful addition for me.

Enjoy the rest of the run, and best wishes with your future endeavors.
Posted by: Annette Smith on May 22, 2014 at 3:27:00 pm

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