By Susan Wallner
State of the Arts
In her acceptance speech for her second Tony for Best Actress in a Musical (for the dual role of “Little Edie” and “Big Edie” in Grey Gardens), Christine Ebersole said, “I left Hollywood because they said I was over the hill…. and now I’m standing here with this most distinguished award for what I consider the role of a lifetime. I’m over the hill in the role of a lifetime!”
That was in 2007. In the 1990s, Ebersole was living in Los Angeles working in film and television. She was in her 40s, and realized that she had reached the impasse that so many actors, or rather, actresses of a certain age encounter. “I had to change basketball courts,” she says, “and go to one where the ball was thrown back to me.” So Christine Ebersole moved back East to work on Broadway, and she’s been playing the game on her own terms ever since.
Listen to the new Jersey Arts Podcast interview with Christine Ebersole.
Moving back to the East Coast came with other benefits as well. Ebersole and her husband, artist William Moloney, bought a house in Maplewood, New Jersey, because it’s a good place to raise kids (all three still live at home). Moving back East also inspired Christine Ebersole to restart her singing career, which had been on hold during the 14 years she lived in Los Angeles. She now has multiple recordings as a headliner, including one coming out later this year called “Strings Attached” with jazz violinist Aaron Weinstein. On May 11, Ebersole brings her cabaret act to NJPAC for two performances. The show, she says, is “storytelling and songs that talk about aging and finding eternal youth.”
Life is busy for Christine Ebersole, and she’s grateful that her husband, who paints in a home studio, has been able to hold down the family fort. It allows her to work on Broadway, where a production means up to eight performances a week, and to travel back to Los Angeles for films and the TV series Sullivan and Son, where she plays “Carol,” a single mom and party girl. Ebersole plays a mom in two upcoming movies as well –- Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street, where she’s Leonard DiCaprio’s mother, and The Big Wedding, where she’s mother of the bride. The Big Wedding opens nationwide in theaters April 26.
In fact, Christine Ebersole seems to make time for everything she finds important in life –- family, friends, and all kinds of creative work. It’s a balancing act like it is for everyone, says the busy actress, singer, and mom. “I’m always staying engaged and involved in many different artistic aspects, so I’m grateful for that.”
Christine Ebersole will give two performances of her cabaret act featuring songs from Broadway and the American Songbook on May 11 at NJPAC.