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Class act Kathy Najimy sprinkles some magic on the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Class act Kathy Najimy sprinkles some magic on the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

CREATED ON // Friday, 30 May 2014 Author // Peter Burdon

Australia will have the opportunity to see Kathy Najimy’s semi-autobiographical show before it takes to the New York stage. Ahead of its Adelaide Cabaret Festival premiere, the comic actress speaks with Peter Burdon.

“I actually started on Broadway before I got into film,” says Kathy Najimy. “I’d come from San Diego, this wide-eyed little girl, but I got a few breaks and I was certainly living the dream. Then one day my agent called me about a new part, and that was in Sister Act. I was over the moon, I got to meet the most amazing people, and really it’s set me up for life. But the music from Broadway has always stayed with me.”

Almost no-one forgets the fabulous Sister Mary Patrick in Sister Act, or the witch on the upright vacuum cleaner in Hocus Pocus. And in her show, Lift Up Your Skirt, premiering at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, she’s planning to talk about it.


[Image] Najimy as Sister Mary Patrick (middle).

“The show is part reflection, part conversation. I’ve got the most wonderful musical director, Brian J Nash, and between the two of us we’re going to tell a story. The first part is about how I grew up and left California for New York, really up to about 1993 when I did Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler. Then we’ll see what comes next. Actually, they’ve just announced a new Hocus Pocus movie for 2015, so that will be something to look forward to. Though I’m not sure if I could ride a vacuum cleaner these days!”

Najimy’s also celebrated for her advocacy within the GLBTI community and more recently for marriage equality. Will she find some time to help Australia crawl, oh so slowly, down the path of equal rights?

“Hell, yeah,” she says with a laugh. “It’s not a matter of if I get the chance, but when. Actually, you’ll find it in the show. I’ve been absolutely committed to equal rights for as long as I can remember, and it’s something we share as a family, which makes it a pleasure to do what we all can to advocate for anyone who needs support.”


[Image] The witches of Hocus Pocus: Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker.

By family she means husband Dan Finnerty (of The Dan Band Fame) and their daughter Samia.

“Dan and I are on the record as saying that the reason we married wasn’t actually a genital thing, it was because we love each other. I’ve got a monologue about marriage equality that I’m quite proud of and I think I might wheel it out in Australia. And besides, we’re all going to be together on this trip. I’m premiering the show at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, and Dan and the band are doing a gig of their own, so we’re having a holiday at the same time! We’ll be in a great mood, so come along and join us.”

[Main Image] ‘I’ve been absolutely committed to equal rights for as long as I can remember’ ... Kathy Najimy. Photo: Supplied

Kathy Najimy: Lift Up Your Skirts, Thursday, June 19, Adelaide Festival Theatre, part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Go to adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au


Peter Burdon

Peter Burdon

Peter grew up in country SA and moved to the city to go to uni. On his second day in Adelaide he discovered the Duke of York Hotel and the Mars Bar, and the rest is history! He has a long involvement in the arts, and in 1997 began writing for Adelaide GT little knowing what was in store. He has since contributed to all but three issues of GT and subsequently blaze, even filing an article from a hotel in Valencia. He works extensively as a freelance critic, and is Chair of the Adelaide Critics Circle.

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