Andrea Martin will receive the 2019 Stratford Festival Legacy Award

Andrea Martin has cemented a place in our memories with her TV and movie characters — think Edith Prickley or Perini Scleroso on SCTV, or Voula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding — but it’s her theatre work that will be highlighted when she receives the Stratford Festival’s Legacy Award.

The Canadian-American actor and comedian will receive the honour Sept. 23 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Andrea’s for decades,” Stratford artistic director Antoni Cimolino said in a news release. “Her work on SCTV had me in stitches, so when I saw her live in Candide here at the Stratford Festival, I was ready to worship at her altar and this goddess didn’t disappoint.”

Martin, 72, who was born in Portland, Maine, and moved to Canada in 1970, spent a season at Stratford in 1978. She appeared as Sibyl in Noel Coward’s Private Lives and as the Old Lady in the musical Candide, a role she reprised on Broadway in 1997, earning a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Martin has been nominated for Tony Awards six times and won two, for her Broadway debut My Favorite Year in 1993 and Pippin in 2013. She has also won two Emmy Awards, for writing on SCTV Network 90.

Former cast members of SCTV reunited at the U S Comedy Arts Festival Saturday night, March 6, 1999, in Aspen, Colo. From left front row are: Dave Thomas; Catherine O'Hara; Andrea Martin; Eugene Levy; and Martin Short. In the back row are Joe Flaherty, left, and Harold Ramis. (AP Photo/E Pablo Kosmicki)

Her local theatre history goes back to a fabled 1972 Toronto production of Godspell, in which she was cast with other future TV stars, including Eugene Levy and Martin Short (SCTV), Gilda Radner (Saturday Night Live), Victor Garber (Alias) and Paul Shaffer (Late Show With David Letterman).

Short, Garber and Shaffer will pay tribute to Martin at the Stratford gala along with Dan Chameroy, star of recent Stratford shows like Rocky Horror and Little Shop of Horrors.

Martin’s many screen roles include TV series like Difficult People, Great News and The Good Fight, and movies like Black Christmas and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

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“How fortunate am I to be honoured twice by the Stratford Festival?” Martin said in the news release. “I was first honoured, in 1978, to be part of Stratford’s acting company. I was cast alongside Dame Maggie Smith and Brian Bedford in Private Lives, directed by Robin Phillips. And on alternate nights I pranced around the stage as the Old Lady with half a butt in the Leonard Bernstein operetta Candide.

“If 1978 was the cake, 2019 is the icing. Thank you Stratford for this glorious award.”

The Legacy Award was launched in 2011 to honour important figures from the festival’s history. Past recipients include Christopher Plummer, Maggie Smith, William Shatner, Martha Henry, Colm Feore, Eric McCormack, Gordon Pinsent and Megan Follows.

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