In the late ’90s, Christine Ebersole called her agent
to find out why he wasn’t calling her.
“He said, ‘Well, you’re 45,’” Ebersole, now 54,
recalls. “I wasn’t getting any jobs and the money
was running out.”
She made her Broadway debut in 1975’s Angel Street, was
nominated for an Emmy for her work on One Life to Live,
was a regular on Saturday Night Live (1981– 82), shined in
small roles in big films (Tootsie, Amadeus) and did guest stints
on top sitcoms (Will & Grace, Murphy Brown). The promise
of all this hard work—leading lady roles, fat paychecks and
fame—never happened. Hollywood never found the
proper use for a talent like hers.
Tired of chasing the carrot, she decided to get a
life. She and her husband, Bill Maloney, started the
family they longed for (adopting three children) and
plotted their escape from Los Angeles, to a place
where an actress of a “certain age” would be appreciated. (“I looked in the mirror and gave myself that
face-lift with my hands—I thought, I’ve got to get out
of here.”). They headed east, purchasing a modest
1920s colonial in Maplewood, N.J., a short commute
to New York City.
If Hollywood was finished with the actress, Broadway welcomed her home. Before she could unpack,
she was tearing up stages around the city and in 2001
took home the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for 42nd Street (she played an aging diva). “I
appreciate the recognition, but it doesn’t define who
I am,” she says.
Today, Ebersole divides her time between Maplewood and New York City, where she is wowing audiences and critics in Grey Gardens at the Walter Kerr
Theatre. She plays the dual roles of “Little” Edie
Beale and Edith Bouvier Beale, eccentric relatives
of Jackie Kennedy Onassis who were featured in
the ’70s documentary Grey Gardens. The New York
Times proclaimed, “One of the most gorgeous performances ever to grace a musical.”
Eight shows a week is at once exhilarating and exhausting. Her favorite place to unwind is her basement boudoir—
a pink closet of a space beneath the stage. Her vanity is an
altar adorned with pictures of Jesus and JFK and a statue of
the Buddha. She also takes in other Broadway shows as often as she can. “I saw Spring Awakening and loved it.”
The wife and mother loves her home in Maplewood,
but the working actress would welcome a place in the city
that has been so good to her. “I would love a pied-à-terre
Her Grey Gardens journey began as an off-Broadway
job paying $575 per week to an actress happy to be working.
Now, she’s armed with a second Tony and London’s calling.
“Grey Gardens means the most,” she says of her career.
“I feel fulfilled in my life and very blessed.”
BrWohyaI Lodvew… ay
Tony Award winner
Christine Ebersole relishes
her home away from home
| BY MICHAEL HAMMETT
Grab a Preshow Bite to Eat
235 W. 48th St., 212-582-2111
Featuring New York-style Italian cuisine and a few
surprises—champagne by the glass, lentils in olive
oil for dipping and a fabulous shoestring fried
zucchini appetizer. “The service is wonderful and
the food is absolutely the best,” says Ebersole.
Get Some Postshow Rest …
Le Parker Meridien
118 W. 57th St., 212-245-5000
When she can’t bear the long commute home,
Ebersole checks in at the hip, relaxed hotel where
“the people are friendly and they have clean rooms
with great pillows!” Its midtown location can’t be
beat: just steps from Central Park and MoMA.
… and Relaxation
Osaka Health Spa
50 W. 56th St., 212-956-3422
Tearing up the Broadway stage for eight shows
a week can wreak havoc on one’s body, mind
and spirit. When it’s time for a tuneup, the actress
books a few hours at “The Original Shiatsu and