E68 | Marta Sanders | Why I Will Always Be A Show Broad
Episode 684th August 2022 • My Fourth Act Podcast • Achim Nowak
00:00:00 00:36:38

Share Episode

Shownotes

Marta Sanders is a celebrated cabaret performer who this spring was awarded a MAC Lifetime Achievement Award (MAC awards are the Tonys and Oscars of the professional cabaret world). Marta is also a licensed New York City tour guide. She has fashioned a life that allows her to combine her exceptional guiding skills with her celebrated cabaret artistry.

Marta moved to New York City in 1969 to study musical theatre. She went on to sing in night clubs and cabarets around the world. Marta made her Broadway debut in 1978 as an original cast member of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Most recently, Marta has teamed with the irrepressible Leanne Borghesi for their acclaimed duo cabaret act, titled Show Broads.

www.martanyc.com


Transcripts

Marta Sanders:

broad is somebody who speaks her mind. Broad is someone who is self assured not afraid to be all that she is and speaks her mind talks about it celebrates it maybe that's what I'm gonna say celebrates it into I am a to i was born being

Achim Nowak:

hey this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your FOURTH ACT I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected FOURTH ACTS, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you are listening on. Let's get started. I am just delighted to welcome Marta Sanders to the mind fourth act podcast. Marta is a Mac and Bistro award winning singer who this year was awarded a 2022 Mac Lifetime Achievement Award. If you don't know Mac, that's the Manhattan association of cabarets and clubs, or any of your Broadway geeks getting a Mac is the equivalent of getting a Tony Award on Broadway. Marta is also a licensed New York City Tour Guide, and she has served as president of GA NYC that's the professional organization that supports the New York City Tour Guide industry. Martha has fashion the life that allows her to combine her exceptional guiding skills with a celebrated cabaret artistry. Martha moved to New York, New York City in 1969. To study musical theater, she went on to sing in nightclubs and cabarets around the world. Marta made her Broadway debut in 1978 as an original cast member of the best little whorehouse in Texas. Most recently, Marta has teamed with irrepressibly anvil Daisy for their acclaimed dual cabaret titled show broads. So here I am delighted to speak with one of the show brides. Welcome, Martin.

Marta Sanders:

Hi, how are you? I came Nice to be here.

Achim Nowak:

Nice to meet be here. And since I just read the show broads. What does the word broad mean to you, since you're claiming it for your neck for your current show?

Marta Sanders:

Fraud is somebody who speaks her mind. Broad is someone who is self assured, not afraid to be all that she is and speaks her mind. Talks about it celebrates it, maybe that's what I'm gonna say celebrates it. It's who I am and who I was born being. I don't think you I think people can evolve into being broad. But I think that it had to come from something that they've always had within them. And maybe we're keeping down because they didn't they were afraid of it. Or they were told that it was wrong. I don't think that was my case. I think I've always been encouraged to be who I am very independent. I think that stylistically abroad, as we get further and further into the world, and we are more and more accepting of all humankind, and all that we are about for people that have been underestimated or told to stay down the quiet women, of course, but you can get those people going and get all kinds of people and now we have people that are they them, he she whatever. So people's identity, but certainly for women, it's been your place. We've been breaking away from that for generations. And my mother found her own voice and her own place. So I had a very clear example of what it was to not be afraid to speak your piece.

Achim Nowak:

I love the phrase you just used finding your place. And I want to connect that to you just having received the Mac Lifetime Achievement Award. I mean, that's a celebration by your peers of your place in the cabaret industry. Yeah, it was not something is sometimes we give that to people who are about to die and you're clearly not. So Well, I think. What was that

Marta Sanders:

having white hair helps. Yeah. It helps it you can't you don't give it to somebody who's not older.

Achim Nowak:

Yeah. What was it like for you to receive the notice that hey, Marta, you're getting a Lifetime Achievement Award from Mac this year. Like what was your reaction to that?

Marta Sanders:

I was surprised. I was pleased. I was surprised because I wasn't. I wasn't looking for it. You know, I realized after we were, there's been so much talk over the last couple of months in preparation for the award and the different the cover of a magazine and the interviews and the blah, blah, you know, all of that. So there's been a lot of talk about meaning of a lot of things, because that's what people are interested in when you're getting an award like that. But what I realized, was really, you don't set out to get a Lifetime Achievement Award, right? You set out, you could set out to get an award, you know, a Mac award, or a bistro award, or something outstanding female vocalist, whatever I want to get the for my play, I want it whatever it is. But I don't think you set up and saying I want a Lifetime Achievement Award. That's what I'm working for. Because that, first of all, you don't know how long you're going to last and getting it not everybody who goes through a career and has a great career and comes out on the other end, and is the right age for the award. Not everybody gets it. And it's not, because they're not worthy. It's more because they're just not on the radar at that moment. The person who's making those decisions or people making those decisions, that the person is not on their radar, they're thinking of somebody else, because you would there would be a competition and a certain amount of numbers of people that are still around. It certainly is less. It's a lot less than the field when you're beginning a career. And you're all young and hopeful. So I was surprised

Achim Nowak:

I, because I mentioned some dates in the introduction. So if peak of our listeners are doing the math, you have been doing cabarets for cover weight work for over four decades. Yep. And you're going strong. Talking about your current work in a moment. What keeps this work? fresh and interesting for you?

Marta Sanders:

I think that being an artist, you live in a state of creation, all the time, just thing an awareness and interest. It's what you're interested in. So I'm interested in, I think you're interested in how the what the world is doing, how you fit into it, what the trends are, how you feel about them, and then you come back to what it is you do and how you feel about it. And what parts of that would you be interested in adjusting because of time, something more popular, some different kinds of music or something. But the interest is because it's my passion. So it just it's always driven me to want to express myself and singing and also in speaking, you know, storytelling is what I do. I'm always interested in the story, which I think a lot of people are, but I guess some people depending would be more interested in the actual, the melody line melody line is very important to me. I've got to really like it. And it has to be really singable. But the story the Lyric, of course, is what becomes intriguing or interesting to me, I think that's what it is,

Achim Nowak:

when you choose. I just this question just popped in. Because you talked about, you know, what draws you to material right and going I was a former theater director. So my mind goes. How much of the material is just because well, darn it, this is a song I Love. It speaks to me and I want to sing this. And how much of it is, this would be a great song for an audience. They would love it. This would draw them in. I don't feel the need to sing it. But the audience will really connect with us, or is that too academic of a question?

Marta Sanders:

Yeah. And I think it's a little too academic. I think you're always looking for stuff that was near music material that you can express your voice through, and knowing what songs are going to hit with the audience. There's two things about that one, of course, you're always looking for that because I want the audience to have a good time. The older I get, the less is like everything The simpler you become and what are your motivations and you do it because you love it and you hope the audience will like it. Yes you do. Do you know the odds are good that they will have the music was good, what you're looking like I mean the things that you're choosing because of that that you like, I believe the audience will also like, but one of the big lessons you learn early on is what you think Because going to work and what actually works compete today very different than the art right? You're always surprised. Oh, man, I thought that one was gonna hit it. And they weren't good at that one was the one. And they kind of go, oh, yeah, that was good. We like that. And then something else you do and they're screaming, and you're gonna Wow, who knew? always reminding us that? We don't know. And we keep it you keep coming back down to So how do I choose? How do I choose? How do I choose? I choose for me.

Achim Nowak:

It just makes sense. One thing that I want to test with you because it struck me as I think about your history is my cliche is that people start doing cabaret after they've had an illustrious career on Broadway and in other places. And then, in my sense of you as you, you went there at a young age, you know, you just would run to it early. Am I reading that correctly?

Marta Sanders:

Yes. Because I like working alone. I like being my own storyteller. I don't like this is the truth of it. I can screw up more easily than I'd like to admit. But I don't want to put anybody else on that stage in a position where they have to save me, I know how to save myself. Right? And so just stand back, I'll take care of this, I'll clean up my mess. There's a risk, I think that there's always been this feeling of, I don't want to be responsible for screwing around with other people where they have to, oh, God, you know, grab that line. Let's help her through it. Now. Would that have been my lot if I had only done theater and just pursued that, I don't know. I could be wrong about it. But it was how I I just always, I have a lot to say I'm larger than life vocally, personality wise, having to adjust myself for other people. I can do it. But it's not as appealing to me. I'm perfectly content, taking care of myself. I remember when I was on the road and it was always this thing with other anybody else on the road the minute you add another personality, musicians, other singers. Now you've got all these personalities. Now you've got them now I can't done don't be aware you know my anyway, I didn't wash it, I stupid stuff. And I just remember that as a kind of a highlight of learning when I first began and I was working with a couple of different singing groups and traveling and you know, musicians and all of that. And I kept thinking I didn't want to be anybody's nursemaid. I don't want to worry, I don't want whining. Everybody take care of themselves. So there was that it comes from very possibly being the second of five children, all of us entertainers, all of us performers, desperately wanting to be alone. I want to be alone, you know, away from the maddening crowd, my brothers and sister and prove myself I'm sure all of that comes into play. It's always been a place of comfort. But the voice itself, the personality itself, I'm actually more perfect than for musical theater than just about anybody else that walks the earth. But I wasn't looking at those roles going. I knew that in musical theater, I wanted to be name or I wanted to be Dolly. I wanted to be that standout person. I wasn't interested in the chorus because I really couldn't dance. No matter what I couldn't do. Right. I was so limited what I could do.

Achim Nowak:

Do you sing dolly or maimed songs and your acts?

Marta Sanders:

Not currently, but I absolutely have. Yeah. Oh, sure.

Achim Nowak:

The other thought I had, I really get that. When you're alone on stage. You sink and swim based on your instincts and the choices you make. Right. But I also think when you put together an act, you know there's a musical director that might be a stage director. So there are you're dealing with lighting people and so there's a measure of collaboration even though in that moment when the show

Marta Sanders:

me That's all right. That's okay. I don't mind it's not that I'm not a collaborator. It's just that I'm work better. When I'm the only person we're worried about is me. I have done a lot of work with people on stage. It's not that I'm not very generous and giving and able to be part of the group and in those situations, you know, I came from a large family you all and everybody's performing. So everybody finds their niche everybody does their thing you we would sing together. We would sing apart we show it's just a matter of preference for me. It's not that I wouldn't do but I just I prefer being alone.

Achim Nowak:

A word from your sponsor. That's me. I invite you to go to the website associated with his podcast www.my. Fourth active.com, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth acts. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation. We'll talk in a moment about your work with Leon Borges. You are not alone? Well, well, I'm interested in I feel like it's an unfair question. But since you've been doing this for a while now, and there'll be a lot of listeners who mean they can find you on YouTube, but they haven't seen you on stage or in a cabaret. If you have to give us a glimpse of a moment or two. And I know they're more that stand out in your memory go. That was a moment where I knew this is why I love doing cabaret, like those moments where you go. This is when it's amazing. What comes to mind.

Marta Sanders:

Well, first of all, it's not just cabaret, it's nightclub night. So my big dream was to be like Shirley Bassey. Surely bassy, Vicki car, traveled the world, sing on the big stages in nightclubs. That was my dream. And so when I got my first job in a nightclub, and it was in Santa Domingo, I remember walking into the room at the hotel. And it was very clear. And I said, this is what I want to do. This is right here. And that would have been early mid 70s.

Achim Nowak:

does want to get a job and no talent center the leader like I'm just going to how the heck did she get there?

Marta Sanders:

Well, that was in my show. So I had, I had a boyfriend who was a managed at by Edison hotel in Times Square. And his job was schmoozing. And he met a woman named Winnie. And she was looking for a singer who could sing in nightclubs in Central America, and the Caribbean, who could sing in Spanish and English. And that was me, because I've lived in South America. And so I sing in and speak Spanish and English. So he called me and I went down, and I met her and we talked and she booked me on the spot. And that was why it was very exciting. And I went in, I said, Yeah, this is it. This is what I want.

Achim Nowak:

I wonder if how wonderful to know. So clearly, that's a great thing.

Marta Sanders:

It has been a great gift. Yes, I haven't even thought about what it is, is a gift until I remember reconnecting with a friend from high school this long time ago. And she was saying how envious she always had been of me because I always knew what I wanted to do. She didn't know and she was like most people, and I've always I knew when we traveled down to South America. My father was the head of the Peace Corps in Colombia. And so I went to high school in Bogota, Colombia, my mother was from Argentina. That's another story. But we traveled down on a ship down to South America. And I remember standing out on board thinking, this is what I want to do for my life's work, I want to travel and then in the talent I was already singing, you know, and I was singing with the family and singing alone and singing. And at the school, there was a talent show and I sang at the talent show and that was my were my first voice teacher who happened to be there living her husband was aI D so she was there with her kids and her husband but she was a singer and she heard me and she wanted to teach me and so that was when I thought okay, now I want to do it as a singer I want to travel and sing. So I was armed with that from high school.

Achim Nowak:

You are armed with that from a school what a wonderful phrase though. I wanted to speak with you familiar reasons but one was that I just it speaks to my sense of whimsy. I just love that you have been a tour guide in New York at the same time while you have a an acclaimed cabaret career. So would you tell our listeners like how does one suddenly get a job as a tour guide? How did that come about?

Marta Sanders:

So I I never thought I thought that I in my mind White was singing and traveling and I thought I will need a guy older. Er, who is retired and has a lot of money, and he will travel with me around the world and support my life.

Achim Nowak:

I appreciate you I love

Marta Sanders:

it. I was all about me. I was clear. I'll learn to love him. You know, I'll it'll all work. I won't have I'm not looking to have children. I don't have to have the it was all yes, it was all about me. And I wasn't looking for children. And I never thought I'd meet somebody that I could have a relationship like my parents had, which was very loving and beautiful. And then I met Gordon. And so we got married, we had two daughters, 20 months apart. And I was an at home mom. Now. He was the one who was supporting the family. He was chemical tankers, international temple tankers, and so it was all on his shoulders, which he was fine with. But I was very aware of that, um, I like being able to contribute. I don't, I'm not the one quick question for my feet. So when the kids were old enough, started getting old enough that I had these windows of time that I could actually go out and do something and maybe bring some money. And the problem was, I had to stay in town I had to be, I had to honor the fact that they had school, they, you know, they had camp and all these things. And all I knew how to do is wait on tables and sing. And I didn't want to wait on tables. And singing was I was auditioning, I did a couple of commercials. But really, it was very difficult. There was just this whimsy, you know, and having to wait by the phone for an audition and all that kind of stuff. And my neighbor was a tour guide, had been a tour guide for quite a while. And it was bigger than me. And she came up to me one summer and she said, I've got a job. Do you have a white shirt and a black skirt? And it just getting people to and from the cruise ships? It's called cruise link and the first summer well I can because my daughters are in camp blah, blah. Next summer. She said the company so looking Are you available, so it was bigger than I was. And I got to the pier and for four days. They were paying the $18 an hour which in whenever it was in the late 80s was a lot. I spoke to the woman that I was working with who had been an actress. She was a single mom, she'd become a tour guide. She was a tour guide for a long time. And so we had time and she was telling me all about it. And I said well, this is something I can do. You mean you schmooze with people? You're nice with people and they pay you? Well, I said Now that's interesting. So I learned it. I got my license. I'm licensed by the city. I'm tested. I you know, it required. It's a constant reading and lectures and all kinds of things. It's itineraries. It's how do you move people through, it's all of that. And I got my license. And I became very successful at it very quickly. Because what I have learned in the process of everything is, yes, I'm a singer. But as important as anything, I'm an entertainer. So the stage can be in the middle of Times Square with a group or on a bus with a group or on Broadway, or in a nightclub, it doesn't matter. I say it's just a, it's being in front of people alone, you're on Showtime. That's what floats my boat. That's where I'm at my best. So I've been very successful at it. And I've represented tour guides around the world in Scotland, Hong Kong and Australia, as the President of guides association here locally, nationally, internationally. And then I moved away from that I got my fix by Phil, my understanding of what being on a board was which is thankless on many levels, but it's also you could be effective, and it can have incredible experiences. But anyway, so I have continued in my life because it's an independent contractor. I'm not on the double decker buses, most people think it's just doubled. No, it's It's all the other 1000s of people that come in, and the corporate meetings and conventions and just all kinds of seniors students. So there's lots of private tours, I had the royal family from the Netherlands, the King, the Queen and three princesses on a private tour with their entourage of security, but it's independent contractor the same with cabaret. You're setting up your dates, you have to set them up yourself. It's all self motivated.

Achim Nowak:

Thank you for that glimpse into it's like a whole other entertainment industry that I wasn't aware of. I want to go back to you saying I love to go solo. But now currently you are matched with another broad, namely inboard kz your ag broads has been really well acclaimed. We've got to keep doing it. So this is part of your past and your present and your future. For somebody who likes to perform alone, how did you and Leanne find each other and decide that, hey, we're going to do a show together.

Marta Sanders:

There's a entertainer who's the host while he has his podcast and online, you know, screen where he interviews people, Richard Skipper, and he did a show where he would present different artists, three or four different artists in his show. And then you get up and you'd say, a couple of songs, and he would interview you. And then he got the other. And I had done a couple of those. And one time Leanne did it or I went to one where she was doing it. And I was intrigued by her. I didn't know her. She's from San Francisco. So she'd been coming into New York for the last five to 10 years or something. But I didn't know anything about it. But I was intrigued by her because she has a tremendous amount of talent. And I saw many of the same things in me. And she's about 25 years, my junior. And she's also six foot something all Yes, she's tall. The energy, the personality, the boys, all of that was I connected to it. So she was performing around the corner from where I live. And so it was easy. And I went, Well, you know, let me go see your show. Right after that. And I went in and I sat down, and I remember seeing her and I kept thinking, Wait a minute, she had the feathers, and she had the sparkle. And she had the comedy and she had the big songs and the little sounds a hole. And I was reminded of myself so much watching her and I was very intrigued by just who she was and and her talent. And so I stayed waited after and we spoke and I was just diffusive and how I loved what she did and so talented. And she said Why don't we do something together? And I said, Okay. And that was how it started. So that's what it has evolved into that and we become very were like family now. On and offstage. It's a wonderful, magical combination, because she is so statuesque, Amazon ish type in her stature, but she has movie star looks like a Jane Russell, everywhere. That camera just loves her. And basically she has an ingenue inside of her. So the two personalities were both broads, but she's a broad of an ingenue, which is surprising and delicious. And I'm abroad fraud and say it like it is.

Achim Nowak:

I love that you too are boldly claiming a word that's almost a little retro, right broad as a retro word. And show abroad show I think old fashioned showbusiness. I think Ethel Merman. I think that kind of show broad. That's exactly right. Reclaiming something that maybe hasn't been so current, but that we all yearn for. yearn for. Am I reading that correctly?

Marta Sanders:

It's entertainment. It's showtime. It's larger than life. It's Vegas. But not what Vegas is today. What Vegas was Sammy Davis, all about the Rat Pack? Yes, that's it. That's what that is. It's the the larger than life, feathers. The head dresses, the fans, the silly. It's Carol Burnett. It's Shirley MacLaine. It's all of those broads. That we, how do you not love them? Because that's everybody's best friend. And if it's not, that's what they would lie, because we speak it as it is. Were silly. But we're fun to watch. Because you can really laugh and relax and enjoy. Because we're very talented. There's always a division and you know, this, you finding the challenge to do it is the trick. And that's not a given. You can have somebody who's talented but doesn't have the personality or personality but doesn't have the voice. And that's where we both come in. And that's where it really is magic. And yes, we both love doing that. We're very suited for it. And it's very silly. And they're serious in it as well. But you know, it's a fun, fun show.

Achim Nowak:

So where are you taking the show from here? I know you were sidelined by COVID for a while you premiered it before COVID. You've come roaring back this year.

Marta Sanders:

Well, we don't have a date yet. We have we are in the talks of it. We're talking about rebound I'm checking it because it's a mother of a mound, but it's worth it. But we have to remount it, and meaning just relearn it and get it back on its feet and get the booking. So we haven't gotten to getting the actual booking. There's a place that would like us down south, but we're not. I think our timing is off, we won't have enough time because the problem when you're working with a team, is everybody has to be able to come at the same time. That's the problem with a team. Doing something alone gives you a different kind of agility to move around. So we will absolutely

Achim Nowak:

this we're riffing on the word broad and I don't even know if I It's okay to say this to you but you probably our mutual friend Dana Rose said you know who loves you said you know, I'm I'm writing a song called What's Broadway without abroad? Just for you. Any reactions to a composer of his caliber, you know, Olivier nominated a bunch of times, is writing a song for you about what's Broadway without abroad thoughts.

Marta Sanders:

always honored, always honored. One of the things about being a cabaret artists that over the years writers have given me material have written for me songs in their repertoire that they say this, I want you to look at this. So it's always an honor to do it. And Dana is an extraordinary composer. But as important he's an extraordinary human being. And that has been an addition to everything his working with Leann and me together and alone and, and his friendship has been priceless, priceless, has been joyful, and inspiring.

Achim Nowak:

I love all those adjectives. Martha, those are the reasons to get up in the morning and do what we do, right?

Marta Sanders:

It's what we look for. We look to do our passion and to be inspired and continue, and other people who come into your life who are inspired by you and you inspire them. What bingo. What else is, you know, really, that's the payoff.

Achim Nowak:

Now, when you won the Mac Lifetime Achievement Award, they gave it to you and Chita Rivera, who was another legend. Cheetah is a little older than you. Yes, yes. What I'm curious about I mean, in cheetah has kept working is your vision, I want to be my 80s I want to be my 90s. And if my voice holds up, I want to keep doing this. Is that your vision?

Marta Sanders:

Yes, I don't see myself in my nine days. I see myself go out. Yeah, I don't I'm not one of those. I want to live time. 100 No, you know, physically genetically, it's not going to be good. I may be ahead walking, you know, but on a on a skateboard. I think that the vision is to always be able to just work in my life to be in front of people. I will do it as long as I can physically be in front of them. And as far as singing, yes, as long as the voice holds out. And it seems to be going strong. And I'm very pleased. And I get to any of us that are artists and the boy and the art continues to grow and maintain the high level of work that you do. That's what you live for. You know, I mean, that's the huge payoff in life that that because you've dedicated your life to because it's your passion. It's not a choice. But choice keeps coming along the way all along the way. Why am I doing this when things get rough? Because things get robbed? Why am I doing it? Why am I doing it? And you keep coming back to the the answer, because I want to do it. Because it's that important to me, not for anybody else. For you. It's all about you. And do you need other people in the audit? Yeah, you help people like it, you want them to love you. You want you desperate for that. But really, you don't do it for them. You do it for you. And then they get to enjoy it because you're the one that has to keep it going. Nobody can do that for you.

Achim Nowak:

As we wrap up, I'm sure there are listeners to go I had no idea who Marcus Sanders is. But I'm intrigued. I want to learn more about her. Where can I find things about her? Where can I find her music? Where would you direct them to?

Marta Sanders:

So I think Marta nyc.com is the way to go. And I think I have a website at the end of it. And yes and yes and there think there's access to if you want to get a CD you can I have two CDs out one is Spanish and the other one is English. And you can hear I guess you too. This is out of my playground. I would If it was relying on me, I'm afraid I go, whatever. Maybe I would feel differently if I didn't have enablers around me that are supposedly helping me. Because I don't really check on it. It's um, that's to you're looking at here, you know,

Achim Nowak:

well, you're enablers have made sure that we can find you on YouTube social. Okay? Look up Marta Sanders. And if you go, I wish I could hear her in person. Keep looking. But in the meantime, YouTube is a good place to start.

Marta Sanders:

And it should be I mean, supposedly on this Marta nyc.com. They'll tell you dates of when I'm performing somewhere and and I think you can always reach out to me through that. If you're that curious and you haven't seen date, just go ahead and reach out. I'm here.

Achim Nowak:

Thank you for the gift of this conversation. And I just appreciate you for being boldly outspoken. Thank you. We need that in the world.

Marta Sanders:

Thank you very much. My pleasure. I wish everyone

Achim Nowak:

well. Likewise, bye for now. Bye now. Like what you heard, please go to my fourth act.com And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us a review and let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao