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Wendie Malick: From One Hit Series To Another

By Gary Wien

originally published: 06/16/2015

Wendie Malick: From One Hit Series To AnotherWendie Malick stars alongside Gary Cole (Office Space) in Closure at New Jersey Repertory Company this month.  Born in Buffalo, NY, Malick has an extensive resume of roles on stage, films, and television, including three long-running series (HBO’s Dream On in the early 90s, Just Shoot Me! in the late 90s, and TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland which began in 2010 and had its series ending episode in June.  With a role in the upcoming show, Rush Hour (based on the hit film franchise), there’s a good chance the Golden Globe and Emmy Award Nominee might be part of another long-running series.  New Jersey Stage caught up with Malick to find out what it’s like for the cast when a show ends after a long run.

Hot In Cleveland literally just aired its last episode and now you’re getting ready to do Closure at NJ Rep.

Yes, we just had our series finale of Hot In Cleveland Wednesday night in New York and we were all there, staying in a lovely hotel with everything first class all the way.  I was saying I guess I better not get used to this, I’m about to move into an old Victorian house with five guys to do a play in New Jersey.  It’s kind of like going back to your roots.  I feel like we’re going back to college!

You’ve had a bunch of tv shows to last five years or more.  What is it like when you have a cast you’ve been with for that long and then you hit the goodbye period?  You were part of such a wonderful crew alongside Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, and Jane Leeves.

It’s pretty emotional.  You’re always a valuable part in each other’s lives and actually my cast for Just Shoot Me! still gets together for dinner three or four times a year, and some of us see each other individually.  But with this group of women (Hot In Cleveland), I think we are in it for the long haul because we did form this kind of sisterhood.  We’re going to see if there’s something else we can do together — we’re toying with several ideas.

This was just such a great learning curve for all of us, understanding how you could be mentored by women both younger and older than you are. Betty (White) is such a remarkable role model.  It reminded me that it’s not until you turn 60 that you get to start your third act.  It’s just about appreciation and being in the moment and fully committing yourself and finding joy in everything you do.  It was a real privilege to be with all of them.

It’s remarkable the career that she’s had.

And she’s had so many resurgences.  She started when television started and has continued to this day!



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It didn’t take you very long to jump into a new series.  Do you think your winning streak will continue with Rush Hour?

It’s funny, the executive producer said, ‘My gut feeling is this thing will either be a huge hit or it’s going to die very quickly!’  It is a pretty huge, ambitious undertaking.  The pilot had a helicopter chase, it was like a movie - it was crazy! I think my stuff will all be pretty much in the police department when I read them the riot act every week for various reasons.  

These young actors are very impressive and so enthusiastic. They have great energy and are so thrilled to have this opportunity.  They’re fun to be around.

It’s got great name recognition from the film franchise.

Yes, and I understand that John Foo is a big martial arts star in China and Korea, which are huge markets for American television to tap into.  I’m sure that’s part of the appeal.

Tell me about Closure.

I love the piece and I am so excited about this cast.  I love the way Rick Dresser writes and I had met him several times over the years.  He came to me with the play as we did a workshop of it at the Berkshire Playwrights Lab a couple of summers ago.  The plan was to do it last summer up there and then my series went back earlier than expected so we had to postpone it.

It’s a suspenseful noir — who done it — and it has a lot of emotional ups and downs, but a lot of dark humor too. Like in all things, there is humor even in the darkest of moments.  The play is about a couple whose daughter went missing during a school vacation in the islands.  And it’s been three months and the wife is still determined to find her and the husband is kind of giving up on it.  It’s about the relationship that is developing with the detective that has been helping the wife.  It sort of surprises you at every turn.





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Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  
Mile Square Theatre Presents It’s a Wonderful Life: a live radio play
(HOBOKEN, NJ) --  Mile Square Theatre, Hudson County’s leading professional theatre, revives its beloved production of It’s a Wonderful Life: a live radio play by Joe Landry. Mile Square Theatre becomes a live recording studio in the golden age of radio, and MST theatre goers become the studio audience as WMST “goes on air” to broadcast Frank Capra’s popular holiday story. The production begins performances on Thursday, November 29 and runs till Sunday, December 23.  
East Lynne Theater Company presents "O. Henry's Christmas Tales"
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- "One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That's all I have, and tomorrow is Christmas," sighed Della in "The Gift of the Magi," just one of the O. Henry stories adapted and performed by Gayle Stahlhuth, who brings to life thirty-plus characters in her memorized, unique tour-de-force storytelling style. For seven times only, the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company will present "O. Henry's Christmas Tales."  With the exception of "Gift of the Magi," these stories have never been performed before by Stahlhuth.  Performances take place on Friday and Saturday, November 23 and 24, Sunday, December 2, Thursday through Saturday, December 6 – 8, all at 8:00 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday, December 8.
Broadway Stars To Perform At Paper Mill For 2nd Annual Broadway Beats Hunger Event
(MILLBURN, NJ) -- Broadway’s best will come together for the holidays to support the second annual Broadway Beats Hungerp erformance at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey on December 10 at 7:00pm. All proceeds raised will go directly to Summit Medical Group Foundation and Community FoodBank of New Jersey’s joint initiative, Food, Health and Hope: An Answer to Diabetes,which is committed to reducing the impact of New Jersey’s deadly diabetes epidemic.


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Monday, Nov 12, 2018


MUSIC

DAVID SANCIOUS & WILL CALHOUN @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

WHEN BROADWAY GOES DARK, VAN DYK GOES LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

Bickford Benefit All-Stars @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 7:30pm

In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert – The Hologram Tour @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

MUDDFEST 2019 @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 7:00pm


THEATRE

Elf The Musical @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm

Auditions: Cinderella or the Story of Bigfoot @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 6:30pm







FILM

Free Solo @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm


LITERATURE


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